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Why Obama, Part VII: Health Care

February 18, 2008

For the seventh installment of the Chamber’s Why Obama series, I’ve picked the health care issue.  The same format applies; this is right from the Obama website.  However, in the interest of brevity, I’m going to highlight the first portion of the plan and allow the rest to be followed up in the comment section. 

Health care (pdf)

Quality, Affordable and Portable Coverage for All

  • Obama’s Plan to Cover Uninsured Americans: Obama will make available a new national health plan to all Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, to buy affordable health coverage that is similar to the plan available to members of Congress. The Obama plan will have the following features:
    1. Guaranteed eligibility. No American will be turned away from any insurance plan because of illness or pre-existing conditions.
    2. Comprehensive benefits. The benefit package will be similar to that offered through Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), the plan members of Congress have. The plan will cover all essential medical services, including preventive, maternity and mental health care.
    3. Affordable premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
    4. Subsidies. Individuals and families who do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP but still need financial assistance will receive an income-related federal subsidy to buy into the new public plan or purchase a private health care plan.
    5. Simplified paperwork and reined in health costs.
    6. Easy enrollment. The new public plan will be simple to enroll in and provide ready access to coverage.
    7. Portability and choice. Participants in the new public plan and the National Health Insurance Exchange (see below) will be able to move from job to job without changing or jeopardizing their health care coverage.
    8. Quality and efficiency. Participating insurance companies in the new public program will be required to report data to ensure that standards for quality, health information technology and administration are being met. obama08_thumblogo100.gif
  • National Health Insurance Exchange: The Obama plan will create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help individuals who wish to purchase a private insurance plan. The Exchange will act as a watchdog group and help reform the private insurance market by creating rules and standards for participating insurance plans to ensure fairness and to make individual coverage more affordable and accessible. Insurers would have to issue every applicant a policy, and charge fair and stable premiums that will not depend upon health status. The Exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and have the same standards for quality and efficiency. The Exchange would evaluate plans and make the differences among the plans, including cost of services, public.
  • Employer Contribution: Employers that do not offer or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees will be required to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of the national plan. Small employers that meet certain revenue thresholds will be exempt.
  • Mandatory Coverage of Children: Obama will require that all children have health care coverage. Obama will expand the number of options for young adults to get coverage, including allowing young people up to age 25 to continue coverage through their parents’ plans.
  • Expansion Of Medicaid and SCHIP: Obama will expand eligibility for the Medicaid and SCHIP programs and ensure that these programs continue to serve their critical safety net function.
  • Flexibility for State Plans: Due to federal inaction, some states have taken the lead in health care reform. The Obama plan builds on these efforts and does not replace what states are doing. States can continue to experiment, provided they meet the minimum standards of the national plan.

I’ve long wondered why a country that is considered to be the world’s last remaining superpower would have such a hard time figuring out how to provide its citizens with affordable health care.  Do the powerful drug and health insurance companies have to much influence over those who are in a position to improve the system?   Perhaps.  I’ll admit that this issue is probably a little over my head, but while researching it I realized that I’m certainly not alone.  I do know that the members of congress have been sitting on this way too long while the system remains dysfunctional and costs keep skyrocketing.   There is no shortage of disagreement even among the various “experts” that are called in when the news media decides to run a story about the candidates and their various positions.  Though one thing seems certain, which is -if the goal is to provide health insurance to all Americans- the plans that the Democrats are offering up come a lot closer than anything that the Republicans have proposed.  

One thing I did find appealing in Obama’s plan was #7 (above), since I recently endured the difficulty and risk involved with changing health care providers while I was making a career move.  Also, considering the relative success that maverick states like Massachusetts and Vermont have had with their bipartisan decisions to enact dramatic health care reform legislation, I’m glad that Obama recognised the need to build on it and expand it to the country as a whole while allowing other states the flexibility to improve on it.

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32 comments

  1. Well, you libs could start by telling the ambulance chasers creating “defensive” medicine to get lost. There’s billions of dollars a year in unnecessary treatment and cost due to the threat of lawsuit.

    I noticed you candidate didn’t mention this. Trial lawyers, of course, being the biggest donor to the Dimocratic party.

    If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free! ~ P.J. O’Rourke


  2. Markets are great and often underappreciated, but they just don’t work very well when it comes to health care. Single payer is the way to go, but Americans are clearly not ready for it. Hillary’s plan makes more sense financially.

    Well, you libs could start by telling the ambulance chasers creating “defensive” medicine to get lost. There’s billions of dollars a year in unnecessary treatment and cost due to the threat of lawsuit.

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/2006-releases/press05102006.html

    A new study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital challenges the view that frivolous litigation is rampant and expensive.

    The researchers analyzed past malpractice claims to judge the volume of meritless lawsuits and determine their outcomes. Their findings suggest that portraits of a malpractice system riddled with frivolous lawsuits are overblown. Although nearly one third of claims lacked clear-cut evidence of medical error, most of these suits did not receive compensation. In fact, the number of meritorious claims that did not get paid was actually larger than the group of meritless claims that were paid. The findings appear in the May 11, 2006 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

    http://www.factcheck.org/article133.html

    “In short, the evidence available to date does not make a strong case that restricting malpractice liability would have a significant effect, either positive or negative, on economic efficiency, ” the CBO said.

    Again from the CBO:

    But even large savings in premiums can have only a small direct impact on health care spending–private or governmental–because malpractice costs account for less than 2 percent of that spending

    Medical liability reform might be a good idea, but it’s just not a serious solution to the problem of rising health care costs.


  3. Hey, it’s off-topic, but I came upon this site at htt://obamawill.com and it’s wonderful and funny. And…my wife, a Clinton supporter, read it and said it’s the first thing she’s seen that inclines her towards Obama. Go figure.


  4. Health care is the biggest issue that separates Obama and Clinton. The lack of a mandate makes Obama’s plan unacceptable to me. Unless the requirement is that everyone be covered, the costs will not come down enough to make it affordable. I have read elsewhere that the experts looking at the two plans peg Obama’s to cost $4400 per person while Clinton’s plan will cost $2700 per person and cover more people.


  5. MA program is experiencing cost overruns and very much mirrors the above. Mandates….mmmm so American.Everyday I get closer to thinking Obama would be a dangerous choice but let it be said Hillary is


  6. Tex- I think you’re confusing the “ambulance chasers” with the attorneys who represent victims of medical malpractice. The former exist because health care premiums are so high (leaving many people with no choice but to sue), and the latter help to drive up insurance costs for health care providers which are in turn absorbed by you and me when we go to the hospital.

    vjp- I’m not sure you necessarily need a mandate to get everyone covered. Obama’s plan does include a mandate for young people, but it was my understanding that Virginia has nearly everyone covered without a mandate.

    Anyway, I know this is complicated, so part of why I’m doing this thread is it might help all of us understand this issue a little better. I can’t help but sit here and be thankful that I’m still relatively young and I have been fortunate to remain in good health for quite awhile. However, I’m not getting any younger, so I know that this is going to start effecting me personally sooner than later.


  7. Chen, I came in here thinking if I provided objective information, maybe there would be a chance some young eyes would be open. I was wrong. You and many of your lefty posters are partisan hacks; nothing more. There is no objectivity and it is a waste of my time.

    I work in the medical field. I know exactly what goes on every day in medicine. I personally know the decision process. For instance, we don’t even buy some the latest, greatest equipment out of fear of retribution because it’s not worth the legal risk.

    King links to two partisan sites as evidence. Somebody needs to fact check FACTCHECK. Well, here’s the scoop on the people that make up the Annenberg Public Policy Center responsible for funding FACTCHECK.org.
    http://www.annenbergpublicpolicycenter.org/NewsDetails.aspx?myId=262

    President of People For the American Way – now there’s a non-partisan bunch. Here’s a little bio on Ms. Kolbert who recently left:

    Prior to joining the Annenberg Public Policy Center, Kolbert worked as a public interest attorney specializing in women’s reproductive rights. She participated on the legal team of nearly every abortion case in the Supreme Court from 1986-1997. In 1992, she argued and partially won Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a challenge to Pennsylvania’s abortion restrictions.

    Yes sir, I’ll bet she’s objective King when it comes to taking on the trial attornies.

    Here’s what the the American Medical Association found (I could provide about a zillion references, if need be). 93% of physicians surveyed said they practice defensive medicine.. Anybody that had an ounce of sense would realize just how wrong they are about threat of suit not being a very significant cost. Yet King knows all about our practice as a what? King, please provide your career experience in medicine. I must assume you think 93% of physicians are lying. Next time King you go to your doctor, as him about the 2% cost. Even at a physician’s salary, it is difficult to self-insure at a cost of well over $100K a year, per physician. In some cases, much more.

    http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/512156

    Perhaps King, you can explain why my wife’s obgyn clinic, the physicians are required to self-insure to deliver a baby? Can you name any other field that is required to self-insure? Can you explain why in emergency medicine it is required to provide CT or MRI when an simple Xray would suffice? Please, please tell us of all your life’s experiences.

    King: better hope you don’t contract some horrific disease; say MRSA. If you do, do me a favor and call your lawyer to treat you. There’s no shortage of them. See how far that gets you. Tell him to sue the pharmaceuticals and remember the small 2% cost when you get to go buy your prescriptions – and with many diseases, there isn’t one now so you can take an aspirin. Pharms finally said, “Forget it. Not worth pursuing anymore.”

    You guys are too blind to realize your digging your own grave. I’ll let you suffer your own consequences and feel little sympathy when it happens.


  8. Health care is the biggest issue that separates Obama and Clinton. The lack of a mandate makes Obama’s plan unacceptable to me. Unless the requirement is that everyone be covered, the costs will not come down enough to make it affordable. I have read elsewhere that the experts looking at the two plans peg Obama’s to cost $4400 per person while Clinton’s plan will cost $2700 per person and cover more people.

    Those numbers are from a recent study by Johnathan Gruber.

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w13758

    Obviously forcing people to buy health care is cheaper than paying them to do so. In fairness though Obama has also said he’s willing to try mandates after implementing the subsidies if there are still a significant amount of people not covered.


  9. Factcheck may be partisan but it sourced non-partisan organizations. I also cited the CBO which says about the potential cost savings from defensive medicine:

    Effects on Defensive Medicine

    Proponents of limiting malpractice liability have argued that much greater savings in health care costs would be possible through reductions in the practice of defensive medicine. However, some so-called defensive medicine may be motivated less by liability concerns than by the income it generates for physicians or by the positive (albeit small) benefits to patients. On the basis of existing studies and its own research, CBO believes that savings from reducing defensive medicine would be very small.

    A comprehensive study using 1984 data from the state of New York did not find a strong relationship between the threat of litigation and medical costs, even though physicians reported that their practices had been affected by the threat of lawsuits.(14) More recently, some researchers observed reductions in health care spending correlated with changes in tort law, but their studies were based on a narrow part of the population and considered spending for only a few ailments. One study analyzed the impact of tort limits on Medicare hospital spending for patients who had been hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction or ischemic heart disease; it observed a significant decline in spending in states that had enacted certain tort restrictions.(15) Other research examined the effect of tort limits on the proportion of births by cesarean section. It also found savings in states with tort limits, though of a much smaller magnitude.(16)

    However, when CBO applied the methods used in the study of Medicare patients hospitalized for two types of heart disease to a broader set of ailments, it found no evidence that restrictions on tort liability reduce medical spending. Moreover, using a different set of data, CBO found no statistically significant difference in per capita health care spending between states with and without limits on malpractice torts. Still, the question of whether such limits reduce spending remains open, and CBO continues to explore it using other research methods.

    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdoc.cfm?index=4968


  10. King,

    Factcheck may be partisan but it sourced non-partisan organizations.

    Weasel talk…Clintonian in nature.

    Moreover, using a different set of data, CBO found no statistically significant difference in per capita health care spending between states with and without limits on malpractice torts. Still, the question of whether such limits reduce spending remains open, and CBO continues to explore it using other research methods.

    It wasn’t but about 2-3 years ago that we were hearing how great the “Canadian” healthcare system was – that is, until we starting asking the Canadian people what they thought. Then we found out it was fine for primary care or minor emergency – and nothing else.

    King, you keep imposing gov’t authority, legal and bureaucracy on medicine and eventually medicine will tell you to stick it and let the attorneys take their shot at serving you. I don’t think you will find it satisfactory.


  11. So where’s your evidence that defensive medicine is a significant part of rising health care costs, as you claimed earlier?

    King, you keep imposing gov’t authority, legal and bureaucracy on medicine and eventually medicine will tell you to stick it and let the attorneys take their shot at serving you. I don’t think you will find it satisfactory.

    Why are so many health professionals supporting single payer if that’s the case?

    http://www.pnhp.org/


  12. Interesting opinion piece that I found in my stats page; Sphere linked to this thread and pasted it up on the WSJ: Health Questions for the Candidates.


  13. Here King,

    I finally found something that personally explains your viewpoints:

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=56494

    They could have contacted me. I have been telling them for years.


  14. King,

    You still haven’t personally answered the most simple question. You keep talking like an “expert.” Please provide your personal experience with respect to the medical profession. Otherwise, your playing your normal game of simply linking…any dolt can find an article supporting their cause without knowing a thing. You’re a shill King, unless you prove otherwise.

    Why are so many health professionals supporting single payer if that’s the case?

    Simple; better payout for primary care physicians than Medicare/Medicaid currently pays, possibly less administrative costs associated with the offices, and the monies are shifted to doctors. Some primary physicians are convinced they could provide a better quality health care for their patients under the single payer system.

    Are you attesting most physicians believe in the single-payer system? Please, please have your boy push for this in the upcoming election. You’ll get hammered.

    http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2003/09/15/edca0915.htm

    So where’s your evidence that defensive medicine is a significant part of rising health care costs, as you claimed earlier?

    Do you even bother to read my links? Obviously not. You link to some abortion attorney now running one of the two or three most liberal organizations in America called “People for the American Way” represent tort legislation and consider it gospel. Here’s a real study by experts in the field.

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/293/21/2609

    That is, unless you think the American medical association corrupt.


  15. Hey Chen,

    I have now had two posts trying to answer King’s insipid question from above go into oblivion. Is WordPress having problems with its server?


  16. Chen,

    Interesting opinion piece that I found in my stats page; Sphere linked to this thread and pasted it up on the WSJ: Health Questions for the Candidates.

    Very good article. I usually read WSJ and somehow missed that. I would like to hear those questions answered myself.

    And “King”, if you would answer two simple questions for me before I try and answer anymore of your questions.

    (1) Your personal work experience or expertise considering the practice, billing and facilitation of medicine.

    (2) Do you believe every American is entitled to complete coverage of medical insurance from cradle to grave?

    Very simple questions…


  17. Sorry Tex, the spam filter thought you were, um, spam. I pulled your post out of the quicksand.


  18. Chen,

    Spam? The name, the American medical association, or just an amusing moderator cruising for a bruising? 🙂

    I figured, oh well, I’ve pushed my luck one too many times.


  19. Are you attesting most physicians believe in the single-payer system? Please, please have your boy push for this in the upcoming election. You’ll get hammered.

    According to this Harvard survey, a solid majority of physicians in Massachusetts support a single payer system:

    Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Massachusetts physicians favor single-payer national health insurance, far more than support managed care (10 percent) or fee-for-service care (26 percent), according to a Harvard Medical School study published Monday (Feb. 9) in the Archives of Internal Medicine. National health insurance (NHI) received majority support from physicians of virtually every age, gender, and medical specialty – even among surgeons a plurality supported NHI. The breadth of physician support for NHI was highlighted by the fact that most members of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Massachusetts Medical Society favor the single-payer approach. Despite this high level of support, however, only about half (51.9 percent) of physicians studied were aware that a majority of their fellow physicians support NHI.

    http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2004/02.12/09-singlepayer.html

    In academic medicine:

    All groups expressed a preference for a single-payer health care system over both managed-care and fee-for-service systems. Overall, 57.1 percent thought that a single-payer system with universal coverage was the best health care system for the most people for a fixed amount of money. A total of 21.7 percent favored managed care, and 18.7 percent preferred a fee-for-service system (2.5 percent did not state a preference).

    https://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/340/12/928

    Do you even bother to read my links? Obviously not. You link to some abortion attorney now running one of the two or three most liberal organizations in America called “People for the American Way” represent tort legislation and consider it gospel. Here’s a real study by experts in the field

    I linked to the CBO, which you yourself said was reliable. And your AMA study with regards to defensive medicine doesn’t determine how costly the practice is, or what the cost savings would be from medical malpractice reform. Of course I’ve never stated defensive medicine doesn’t happen, I’m just saying tort reform won’t do much to fix the health care system. And that’s what the CBO study I linked to looked at.

    (1) Your personal work experience or expertise considering the practice, billing and facilitation of medicine.

    Zero, I nearly flunked out of biology a couple years ago. That’s why I’m linking to people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to medicine. You were arguing with me about the tax cuts earlier – are you an economist, have you ever worked at the Treasury?

    (2) Do you believe every American is entitled to complete coverage of medical insurance from cradle to grave?

    Absolutely. That’s the best way to make the system work.


  20. King,

    cost savings would be from medical malpractice reform.

    Actually, my first link did exactly that – say about $150B a year, which of course, your abortion/tort reform lawyer links deny.

    Zero, I nearly flunked out of biology a couple years ago. That’s why I’m linking to people who know what they’re talking about when it comes to medicine. You were arguing with me about the tax cuts earlier – are you an economist, have you ever worked at the Treasury?

    Well, being that you about flunked out of biology and I’m in medical school, can we at least admit that maybe, just maybe, I might have a little more insight to what doctors believe than you?

    As far as working at the treasury, I didn’t realize that was required to talk about macroeconomics. I do have an MBA and have run a small business. What are your personal qualifications King besides linking?

    And if you believe in health care from cradle to grave, giving no incentive to an individual’s personal responsibility, well does welfare mean anything to you?


  21. Actually, my first link did exactly that – say about $150B a year, which of course, your abortion/tort reform lawyer links deny.

    Ive taken another look at all your links and none of them contain this $150B a year figure.

    Also, are you implying the CBO is a partisan organization? They’re the ones I referenced in regards to the question of cost savings from defensive medicine.

    Well, being that you about flunked out of biology and I’m in medical school, can we at least admit that maybe, just maybe, I might have a little more insight to what doctors believe than you?

    Sure, but I don’t see how that’s relevant. The only reason I’ve been posting these surveys is because you said doctors would just pack up and stop providing care if the government took over. This hasn’t been the case in any other country. And in this country, there are plenty of doctors who support single payer. Is it a majority? No idea, I’d like to see a survey done.

    As far as working at the treasury, I didn’t realize that was required to talk about macroeconomics. I do have an MBA and have run a small business. What are your personal qualifications King besides linking?

    I agree, and you don’t have to be a doctor to discuss what’s the optimal role for the government in health insurance. I’ve been an assistant at KFC for 15 years so my qualifications are as good as anybody’s.


  22. King,

    LOL. Nothing wrong with KFC – you’re probably classier than many doctors I meet. When we get to chickens and butchering, I’ll shut up and let you have the floor. In the meantime, mitosis and cellular respiration are my game.

    $150B is the number. If you need the links, I’ll look it up. But trust me, that’s the number the AMA posts; and they consider that conservative. What you’re not discussing and missing is what it is costing the doctors and passing on to the consumer (self insurance).

    I know few doctors, other than primary care physicians and internists, that think single-payer is a great idea. And I gave you the reasons for that above. It pays more than medicare/medicaid on a general visit, though you’re not supposed to hear that.


  23. LOL. Nothing wrong with KFC – you’re probably classier than many doctors I meet. When we get to chickens and butchering, I’ll shut up and let you have the floor. In the meantime, mitosis and cellular respiration are my game.

    Fair enough. But I thought you were older?

    $150B is the number. If you need the links, I’ll look it up. But trust me, that’s the number the AMA posts; and they consider that conservative. What you’re not discussing and missing is what it is costing the doctors and passing on to the consumer (self insurance).

    Listen, I’m aware of those costs. But according to the CBO they are not significant. I’ll repost it:

    Evidence from the states indicates that premiums for malpractice insurance are lower when tort liability is restricted than they would be otherwise. But even large savings in premiums can have only a small direct impact on health care spending–private or governmental–because malpractice costs account for less than 2 percent of that spending.(3) Advocates or opponents cite other possible effects of limiting tort liability, such as reducing the extent to which physicians practice “defensive medicine” by conducting excessive procedures; preventing widespread problems of access to health care; or conversely, increasing medical injuries. However, evidence for those other effects is weak or inconclusive.

    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdoc.cfm?index=4968#F3

    I know few doctors, other than primary care physicians and internists, that think single-payer is a great idea. And I gave you the reasons for that above. It pays more than medicare/medicaid on a general visit, though you’re not supposed to hear that.

    And that makes sense, I wouldn’t expect most doctors support single payer.


  24. King,

    2nd career – corporate American paid me fairly well but there was no purpose other than paying the light bill. I learned, perhaps too late, that if you don’t feel you’re serving a useful purpose, it doesn’t really matter what you’re worth.

    Believe it or not, I’m not as hateful or self-serving as I’ve probably led you libs to believe on this board. Though I loathe the liberal ideology and find it morally bankrupt, I find few of you I don’t think at least believe you’re pursuing your ideology with good intent.

    It’s those that spit in the face of the military, the very ones who give us that freedom of speech, that I truly hate. Think Berkeley, Brattleboro and Boulder.


  25. King,

    One last thing. We can continue to pass links back and forth concerning this issue. I’m telling you from personal experience, the CBO is wrong.

    But the only way I could truly prove it to you, the real cost of defensive medicine, is to show you in practice just how disruptive it is to good medical practice. You can not believe how the threat of continual suit is screwing up the business.

    And since you seem a decent guy, I think you would agree when we were thru with the exercise. I assure you that you and your family are paying a lot more for health cost because of it.


  26. One last thing. We can continue to pass links back and forth concerning this issue. I’m telling you from personal experience, the CBO is wrong.

    But the only way I could truly prove it to you, the real cost of defensive medicine, is to show you in practice just how disruptive it is to good medical practice. You can not believe how the threat of continual suit is screwing up the business.

    Sorry, when it comes to reform at the national level, I don’t think anecdotes are very useful. Like I said, I’m sure defensive medicine is a problem. But you can’t measure the cost savings of fixing that problem via tort reform. That’s something organizations like the CBO need to study.


  27. King,

    Sorry, when it comes to reform at the national level, I don’t think anecdotes are very useful. Like I said, I’m sure defensive medicine is a problem. But you can’t measure the cost savings of fixing that problem via tort reform. That’s something organizations like the CBO need to study.

    King LOL. You’re more hard headed than my kids. What better way to experience something than to experience it yourself? Who do you think the CBO is going to interview? How do you think statistics are gathered? DO you think I’m the only one saying these things?

    Since you won’t believe me, head to the emergency room on Friday night and watch for yourself.


  28. I didn’t say your experiences are irrelevant, I said they may not be the big picture. That’s what comprehensive studies and statistics are for.. we can’t debate health policy based on your anecdotes. Especially on the internet. Point is you can tell me defensive medicine is costly… I say fine. But how costly? According to the CBO, it’s not a big deal.


  29. But how costly? According to the CBO, it’s not a big deal.

    Last response. You going to believe a bureaucracy or you going to believe 93% of physicians, its representative organization and their statement of facts – forgetting your’s truly for the minute?

    I’ll leave it you to decide. I don’t have that kind of faith in a government made up of mainly attorneys; another reason this issue has never been fairly addressed.


  30. Last response. You going to believe a bureaucracy or you going to believe 93% of physicians, its representative organization and their statement of facts – forgetting your’s truly for the minute?

    Believe what? You haven’t shown me anything about what 93% of physicians think. Feel free to post anything concerning the costliness of defensive medicine. And by that I mean a number. I’ve reviewed your links again and there’s nothing there. The CBO is something you’ve used before as a reliable source, so now all of sudden it can’t be trusted? Their study sources mostly people in the health industry anyways.


  31. Here King,

    Health care costs an estimated 1.5 trillion.

    A study in 2006 by Price Waterhouse Coopers, performed for America’s Health Insurance Plans, estimated that costs associated with medical liability account for between 7 percent and 11 percent of health insurance premium dollars; direct costs of litigation and widespread practice of defensive medicine increase healthcare spending by 10 percent, with a disproportionate increase in outpatient and physician costs.

    Source:
    http://www.aaos.org/news/bulletin/janfeb07/clinical2.asp

    1,500,000,000,000 * .10 = $150,000,000,000


  32. So if you tackled that problem and saved that 10% of health care spending, you’d still have 14-15% of GDP devoted to health care in the United States, by far the highest in the industralized world. Presumably outcomes wouldn’t change, as the study you linked states. That’s what I mean when I say that while tort reform may be worthwhile, it’s not a serious attempt to tackle health care costs in the US.



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