Tort Reform 2: Reform Schoolin’
Today’s Kansas City Star has an excellent article about the debate over whether tort reform should be part of the health care changes imposed on us by the federal government. The article highlights the great success tort reform has had for Missouri:
Since the 2005 reforms in Missouri, malpractice premiums at Hagen’s practice have fallen 24 percent — a decline he attributes to the reforms. Reintjes said his premiums have declined 30 percent.
Kansas has some of the strictest liability limits in the country, so medical malpractice costs are not much of a problem there. Illinois, which is not discussed in the Star‘s article, desperately needs tort reform — but I have no faith that they will see it enacted anytime soon. Every doctor in Southern Illinois will have moved to Missouri by the time they pass it.
As I said a few days ago, I support tort reform, but don’t necessarily want another example of the federal government taking over what has long been a state issue — tort and malpractive laws. I am not willing to go along with such an expansion in federal scope just because this might be one rare instance in which I’d agree in principle with the reforms the federal government were going to pass. This should remain a state issue. Missouri has properly addressed it, and can go further if need be.
Kansas has addressed the issue very successfully as well:
The report stated that, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, there were 34 medical malpractice cases involving 41 health care providers that went to a jury (In Kansas). Only five resulted in damages awarded to the plaintiffs and only three required payouts by the fund, for a total of $1.73 million.
If Illinois refuses to deal with its legal system, then Illinois will pay the price for that.