CBO: Yes, Virginia, Malpractice Reform will save $54 billion

When the Congressional Budget Office reported that simple medical malpractice reforms — such as caps on non-economic damages in malpractice cases — would save the government $54 billion over ten years, Democrats balked. Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., demanded an explanation of how the numbers changed from a paper CBO published last year, which had arrived at mixed results regarding the question of savings from tort reform.

CBO has responded with a seven-page letter today explaining that newer studies were consulted in arriving at the new number. CBO arrived at a higher estimate for the reduction in malpractice costs, writes director Doug Elmendorf. It also considered savings that the new studies suggest comes from the reduction of defensive medicine by doctors fearful of being sued.

This doesn't work out so well for Democrats. CBO maintains that the low-hanging fruit when it comes to “bending the cost curve” is to pick on trial lawyers, an interest group that gives their party more than 95 percent of its political money.

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