Issue of Tort Reform Muddling Health Care Debate

Of the many threads in the health care reform debate at both state and national levels, a call for more tort reform to control medical costs has been getting louder.

A Wyoming-based coalition sees that call as a distraction in the complicated debate. Dan Neal with the Equality State Policy Center says the medical malpractice discussion is important to improve patient safety, but needs to take place separately under the umbrella of insurance reform.

Neal says there needs to be more talk about how to improve the health care system we have now. He doesn't see that it has to be reinvented, just expanded so everyone can participate.

On the other side of the issue, those who want limits on medical malpractice lawsuits say it could mean lower insurance costs for doctors, and thus, lower costs for patients. However, Neal says doctors in states that have limited patient lawsuits have not seen lower premiums, and he claims that all limits do are protect insurance company profits.

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