Bush and Vice President Cheney continue to dishonestly
claim that trial lawyers are to blame for skyrocketing
health care costs. President Bush said Friday
that "frivolous lawsuits...run up the cost of
medicine" and that solutions to health care problems
were stopped in Congress "because the trial lawyers
are powerful in the Senate." Similarly, Cheney
said last week that "medical liability reform"
is the key to "control the cost of health care."
But, according to undisputed government and academic
data, lawsuits have little -- if anything -- to
do with health care costs.
to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office
(CBO), costs from malpractice lawsuits represent
less than 2% of the nation's total health care
spending, and the tort reform legislation pushed
by President Bush would reduce health insurance
premiums by less than one-half of one percent.
While President Bush has claimed that lawsuits
cause "docs to practice medicine in an expensive
way in order to protect themselves in the courthouse,"
a study by the Harvard University School of Public
Health "did not find a strong relationship between
the threat of litigation and medical costs." Additionally,
a study in the Journal of Health Economics
compared medical costs in states with limits on
lawsuits to states without limits and found only
tiny savings - less than three-tenths of one percent.
In all, CBO reported "no statistically significant
difference in per capita health care spending
between states with and without limits on malpractice
White House's insistence on pushing the trial
lawyer myths are designed to obscure its record
in other areas that would seriously reduce health
care costs. For instance, the Bush Administration's
recently-passed Medicare bill specifically prohibited
Medicare from negotiating lower prescription drug
prices from large pharmaceutical companies.
Similarly, industry studies have found that widespread
adoption of the President's Health Care Savings
Accounts "could drive up the annual deductible
paid by workers."
Remarks by President Bush on the Economy, PRNewswire.com,
2. "Cheney rallies the faithful at Wheeling bus
tour stop," Observer-Reporter, 7/04/2004, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=43774.
3. "Economic and Budget Issue Brief: Limiting
Tort Liability for Medical Malpractice," Congressional
Budget Office, 1/08/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=43775.
4. "President Bush's Rhetoric on Medical Malpractice
Doesn't Match Reality," DPC.Senate.gov, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=43776.
5. Presidential Remarks, WhiteHouse.gov, 1/26/04,
6. "President Uses Dubious Statistics on Costs
of Malpractice Lawsuits," FactCheck.org, 1/29/04,
7. Ibid, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=43778.
8. "Bush Admits Drug Card Concerns," Washington
Post, 6/15/04, http://daily.misleader.org/ctt.asp?u=1208987&l=43779.
9. "Out of pocket costs may soar," USA Today,
Posted: July 11, 2004