Surprise, surprise! The federal Health and Human Services Department has just released a report saying that the sweeping health care reform plan recently signed into law will increase costs to taxpayers. See the Associated Press report here.
Political pundits everywhere have been debating whether the health care changes will add or subtract to the budget deficit, but this is the first objective report by a government office to indicate that costs will indeed rise. The analysis pegs the dollar increase at $311 billion over the first ten years of the plan, but does anyone believe that number won’t go up, too?
Experts will undoubtedly continue to debate how much this massive spending plan adds to the deficit, but there is little debate about what the new plan doesn’t contain. As Mark Hoffman points out on BusinessInsurance.com: “…one thing is certain about what it doesn’t contain. That missing piece is any meaningful medical malpractice liability reform of any kind.”
Sure, there was money earmarked in the new law for demonstration projects like health courts, and it’s a great idea to encourage experimentation in the states with these courts. However, it’s going to take a long time to get health courts up and running. Even then, they’ll only be in place in a few states.
As Hoffman states, “ if cost control is the integral component of health care reform that supporters of the new law insist it is, medical malpractice reform has to be part of the solution.”
The new report by the HHS simply confirms that it is critical to control health care costs. Personal injury lawyers won’t like it, but the best way to improve access to health care without cutting benefits is to enact liability reform.