CBO: Medical Malpractice Reform Could Save $54 Billion

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , December 10, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has concluded, after evaluating tort reform research and meeting with healthcare experts, that "the weight of empirical evidence" currently demonstrates a link between tort reform and the use of healthcare services.

The CBO response is to questions posed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) regarding its recent analysis of the budgetary effects of proposals to limit costs related to medical malpractice, as described in a letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

In the Hatch letter, CBO said tort reform would lower healthcare costs both directly by reducing medical malpractice costs, and indirectly by reducing the use of healthcare services through changes in the practice patterns of providers.

CBO estimates that enacting a package of proposals outlined in that letter would reduce federal budget deficits by about $54 billion during the 2010-2019 period. Those proposals were estimated to decrease spending by roughly $41 billion and increasing revenues by roughly $13 billion over that same period.

Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at jsimmons@healthleadersmedia.com.

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