There seem to be two groups that benefit most from maintaining the status quo in our health care system: for-profit insurance companies and lawyers. To address the former, it’s fairly clear that we need a government-run, non-profit, insurance option in order to guarantee coverage for all Americans. Understandably, this solution has been the focus of the Democrats’ proposal for health-care reform.
However, when considering health care reform, it’s worth considering the medical malpractice mess as well. Although the true cost of malpractice litigation may be less than people think, the threat of litigation leads to “defensive medicine”, which incurs additional costs. .
While I don’t usually agree with Charles Krauthammer, I actually think his proposal for tort reform makes sense (just ignore the second half of his column — his health-insurance reform proposal wouldn’t come close to solving the problem).
Democrats, however, have been largely silent on the subject of tort reform. I wrote previously about the effect of insurance industry donations on politicians’ support for the public option. I’m afraid a similar effect might be occurring here, with the legal industry favoring the Democrats with 73% of their donations.