Since President Obama mentioned tort reform last week, several studies have been cited as to whether such reforms would make a difference in the overall budget. Few studies seem to consider the effect on the physician or their practice.
Business Week reports that costs associated with malpractice lawsuits make up 1% to 2% of the nation’s $2.5 trillion annual health-care bill and that tort reform would barely make a dent in the total. A comprehensive new report from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, using a database of employer-sponsored health plans covering 10 million Americans, looked at the impact of tort reform measures already enacted in more than 30 states. The authors concluded that comprehensive, nationwide reforms would lower overall health-care costs by 2.3% at most. “That’s significant, of course, but still fairly small,” says Kellogg professor Leemore S. Dafny, a co-author of the study.