Health care: conservative myths, liberal myths
Today's column is on the big myths of health care reform -- the conservative myth and the liberal myth. The conservative myth is that malpractice lawsuit reform will do much to restrain soaring costs. The liberal myth is that preventive care will save money for the system as a whole. We need tort reform AND more investment in preventive care. But to pretend that either is the solution to out-of-control costs is disingenuous.
The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer has joyfully discredited the liberal myth.
However, prevention is not, as so widely advertised, healing on the cheap. It is not the magic bullet for health-care costs.
You will hear some variation of that claim a hundred times in the coming health-care debate. Whenever you do, remember: It's nonsense -- empirically demonstrable and [Congressional Budget Office]-certified.
But the guy keeps yammering on about tort reform as the fix for health-care costs. What he doesn't mention is that tort reform, too, as a significant health-care solution, is also the subject of a negative CBO verdict. Such is the nature of the health-care debate. From my column:
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, as usual the best source for this kind of analysis, says malpractice costs make up only 2 percent of health care spending. "The evidence available to date does not make a strong case that restricting malpractice liability would have a significant effect," the CBO says.