Confirming earlier reports: “In closed-door talks, Mr. Obama has been making the case that reducing malpractice lawsuits — a goal of many doctors and Republicans — can help drive down health care costs, and should be considered as part of any health care overhaul, according to lawmakers of both parties, as well as A.M.A. officials.” One positive factor for reformers: presidential aide Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has written that there is “no doubt” that “monumental change” in the malpractice system is called for. [New York Times]
In 2004, Obama was quoted as saying, “Anyone who denies there’s a crisis with medical malpractice insurance is probably a trial lawyer”. Other coverage here, here (Ted at PoL, taking skeptical view) and here. The Times characterizes former Senate leader Tom Daschle as being these days “a strong proponent of linking evidence-based medicine with protections against lawsuits”; it’s not clear how new this development is, or how comfortably it meshes with Daschle’s role as a reliable longtime ally of organized trial lawyers (cross-posted at Point of Law). More: Sean Alfano, CBS “Political HotSheet”; Max Kennerly (on proposal’s lack of clarity); Carter Wood @ ShopFloor (if this is meant as more than a bargaining chip, shouldn’t the Obama administration be looking askance at expanded medical-device liability?).