“This is not about politics? Then why is it, to take but the most egregious example, that in this grand health-care debate we hear not a word about one of the worst sources of waste in American medicine: the insane cost and arbitrary rewards of our malpractice system?
“When a neurosurgeon pays $200,000 a year for malpractice insurance before he even turns on the light in his office or hires his first nurse, who do you think pays? Patients, in higher doctor fees to cover the insurance.
“And with jackpot justice that awards one claimant zillions while others get nothing — and one-third of everything goes to the lawyers — where do you think that money comes from? The insurance companies, which then pass it on to you in higher premiums.
“But the greatest waste is the hidden cost of defensive medicine: tests and procedures that doctors order for no good reason other than to protect themselves from lawsuits. Every doctor knows, as I did when I practiced years ago, how much unnecessary medical cost is incurred with an eye not on medicine but on the law.
“Tort reform would yield tens of billions in savings. Yet you cannot find it in the Democratic bills. And Obama breathed not a word about it in the full hour of his health-care news conference. Why? No mystery. The Democrats are parasitically dependent on huge donations from trial lawyers.”
Unlike too many conservatives, I recognize that the health care system’s financial problems are multi-faceted, and that tort reform will not be a cure-all by any means. But it is inexcusable that the subject of tort reform is not even on the table. Heck, it’s not even in the same building as the table.