CBO Says Tort Reform Would Save $54BOctober 15th, 2009 by Lee Eldridge
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has completed their analysis of tort reform, and has sent their findings to Senator Orrin Hatch. What did they find? That the net effect of tort reform on the federal budget would save $54 billion over the next ten years.
From the report:
“CBO now estimates, on the basis of an analysis incorporating the results of recent research, that if a package of proposals such as those described above was enacted, it would reduce total national health care spending by about 0.5 percent (about $11 billion in 2009). That figure is the sum of the direct reduction in spending of 0.2 percent from lower medical liability premiums, as discussed earlier, and an additional indirect reduction of 0.3 percent from slightly less utilization of health care services. (That reduction is the estimated net effect of the entire package listed earlier, although some components of that package might increase the utilization of physicians’ services, as has already been noted.) CBO’s estimate takes into account the fact that because many states have already implemented some of the changes in the package, a significant fraction of the potential cost savings has already been realized.
“In the case of the federal budget, enactment of such a package of proposals would reduce mandatory spending for Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits program by roughly $41 billion over the next 10 years.”
And then later in the report:
“By reducing spending on health care in the private sector, the package of proposals discussed here would also affect federal revenues. Much private-sector health care is provided through employment-based insurance that represents nontaxable compensation. Lower costs for health care arising from those proposals would lead to higher taxable wages and thereby increase federal tax revenues by an estimated $13 billion over the next 10 years, according to estimates by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). Combining the effects on both mandatory spending and revenues, a tort reform package of the sort described earlier in this letter would reduce federal budget deficits by roughly $54 billion over the next 10 years. That estimate assumes that a change enacted in 2010 would have an impact that increased over time, achieving its full effect after four years, as providers gradually changed their practice patterns. Of course, the estimated effect of any specific legislative proposal would depend on the details of that proposal.”
Read the full report here.
Why is tort reform nowhere to be found in current proposals for health care reform? Politics. Compare these numbers for political contributions to democrats and republicans from the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) according to the website OpenSecrets.org.
Cartoon came from the Tortellini.com.
Tags: Health Care