There has been a lot of talk since the election about what will become of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the new Trump administration and Republican control of the Congress. Top Republicans are vowing to make tort reform a key part of their replacement plan for the ACA because they feel that there is a medical malpractice crisis that is threatening our healthcare system. This argument could not be further from the truth according to researchers and industry experts.
Regardless of whether you support the ACA or not, tort reform is not going to bring any meaningful cost savings or improvement to our healthcare system. Research has proven that medical malpractice costs make up a very small percentage (about 2.4%) of the nation’s total health care expenditure. There is no need to fix the current system as researchers and industry experts agree that the nation’s medical malpractice industry is running smoothly and doctors are paying less for insurance than they did over 15 years ago without even adjusting for inflation.
The bigger problem that needs to be addressed is the number of preventable medical errors that are causing serious injury and death in our country. According to research performed by Johns Hopkins, preventable medical errors is the third-leading cause of death in our country behind only heart disease and cancer. These medical errors have a devastating financial impact on the families of the injured patients and the healthcare system in general because the injured patient often requires long term healthcare to address the injury.
Insurance companies love the idea of tort reform because it means bigger profits for them. But if we are really serious about trying to fix the problems in our healthcare system, let’s put politics aside and focus on the facts. To know more about the issue, R&B encourages you to read these articles from Forbes and the Washington Post.