This article explores three reasons why bundling both medical liability reform and health care reform may prove valuable in health care reform development:
1. Escalating health care costs are significantly tied to malpractice liability costs. The authors cite that a decrease of total health care spending by 1 percent would lead to a savings of $22 billion per year.
2. A bill aimed at creating a more rigorous financial environment for health care providers requires physician support. By offering a plan that alleviates a system many physicians feel is unfair and burdensome, physicians may be more willing to support the plan.
3. Bundling tort reform, cited by the article as a long-time Republican issue, may attract Republican support for a health care reform package. One approach may include disclosure-and-offer programs. Another may shift medical malpractice claims to a tribunal adjudication system; a third may create a federal “safe harbor” by protecting physicians from liability if evidence-based medical practices are adhered.
Medical malpractice law faces a hurdle in implementing a federal structure on what has been typically controlled by states. Yet, these three reasons for bundling both tort and health reform and the suggested approaches may prove helpful in creating a health care reform compromise.