WASHINGTON — Medical malpractice reform is unlikely to cut healthcare spending significantly, the Congressional Budget Office reported Friday.
Enacting a cap on pain-and-suffering and punitive damages, changing liability laws and tightening the statute of limitations on malpractice claims would lower total healthcare spending by about one-half of 1% each year -- $11 billion at the current level -- according to an estimate by the nonpartisan agency.
The figure is far lower than previous estimates by groups backing malpractice reform. On Sunday, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) blasted Democrats for blocking attempts to reform malpractice laws. "Almost everybody agrees that we can save between $100 billion and $200 billion if we had effective medical malpractice reform," he said.
Reform advocates cast the report as an endorsement of their efforts, noting that the government would save $41 billion over 10 years on such programs as Medicare and Medicaid.