Health reform must include malpractice reform

I STRONGLY agree with this op-ed piece, which is in today’s Washington Post.

It is from my long-time friend, Phil Howard. He has, for years, been working on policy options for improving the way the medical malpractice system works, through his organization, Common Good.

Currently we have a system that is unfair and very arbitrary — a few patients and their lawyers get very large settlements, but most people who are injured in the course of their treatment get nothing.

And this unfair process contributes greatly to the extravagantly expensive American health care system, because it makes physicians and other providers order vastly more studies and other services — and it drives up the overall cost of care. Some thoughtful experts say it adds 30 percent to the cost of care.

So if we are to be serious about health care cost containment — this one must be taken on.

And the people who will benefit the most are not doctors and hospitals, but patients and families — and the American people.

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