Tort Reform Won't Fix the Health-Care System

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Charles Krauthammer faulted the president's health-care plan because it will increase health-care spending ["Why Obamacare Is Sinking," July 24]. This ignores the fact that 47 million Americans lack health insurance and that thousands with insurance are forced into bankruptcy after developing serious medical conditions. Even a child should know that fixing this will cost a great deal of money.

On the other hand, Mr. Krauthammer's solution, tort reform, would do little to remedy these problems, as virtually every study of rising health-care costs has concluded.

The problem is not defensive medicine, as Mr. Krauthammer contended, but offensive medicine. Doctors profit from prescribing more medicines and tests, and many recommend procedures because it is in their financial interest to do so rather than in the best interest of their patients. At the same time, insurance companies profit by imposing burdensome administrative costs on doctors and patients, seeking to delay payment or not pay legitimate claims.

Rather than silly analysis and useless solutions, we need a new business model about how to provide health care in the United States. President Obama's plan may not achieve this, but Mr. Krauthammer ignores our real health-care problems.


Interlaken, N.J.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company