Bill Bradley in Aug 29 NY Times makes a pitch for combining health care reform with tort reform. From contacts with Republican prostate cancer patients I know tort reform constantly comes up. Bradley argues:
Since the days of Harry Truman, Democrats have wanted universal health coverage, believing that if other industrialized countries can achieve it, surely the United States can. For Democrats, universal coverage speaks to America’s sense of decency and compassion. Democrats also believe that it will lead to a healthier and more productive country.
Since the days of Ronald Reagan, Republicans have wanted legal reform, believing that our economic competitiveness is being shackled by the billions we spend annually on tort costs; an estimated 10 cents of every health care dollar paid by individuals and companies goes for litigation and defensive medicine. For Republicans, tort reform and its health care analogue, malpractice reform, speak to the goal of stronger economic growth and lower costs.
The bipartisan trade-off in a viable health care bill is obvious: Combine universal coverage with malpractice tort reform in health care.
Counter-arguments are mounted in a Times Blog "Prescriptions" Aug 31.