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What about tort reform?

When examining the health care bills proposed by Congressional Democrats one cannot help but to notice the absence of meaningful tort reform--reform of frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.  Acknowledging the need for tort reform in his joint session address to Congress, President Obama pointed to malpractice lawsuits as a factor that "may be contributing to unnecessary costs."  An article in this morning's Washington Examiner takes a closer look at tort reform.  It asserts that:    

 If we look at the difference in U.S. health spending relative to that in other developed countries--such as Canada, Germany, or France--medical-malpractice reform would eliminate anywhere from six to 27 percent of all additional health costs. 

But why then is tort reform not at the forefront of the health care debate? 

The reason is clear - money. The trial lawyers' political action committee is the second-largest donor to Democrats' federal campaigns, and lawyers gave $127 million to Congressional candidates in the 2008 political cycle--more than doctors and health professionals, hospitals and nursing homes, pharmaceutical companies, and HMOs, combined.

As medical doctor and former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean admitted in a town-hall meeting this summer, "The reason why tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers."