While I’m all in favor of the second component of Dr. Krauthammer’s proposal for healthcare reform:
Real health-insurance reform: Tax employer-provided health-care benefits and return the money to the employee with a government check to buy his own medical insurance, just as he buys his own car or home insurance.
(I’d be in favor of taxing compensation rather than wages; there’s no sound economic reason to make the distinction), I wonder if he realizes that the first component of his proposal:
Tort reform: As I wrote recently, our crazy system of casino malpractice suits results in massive and random settlements that raise everyone’s insurance premiums and creates an epidemic of defensive medicine that does no medical good, yet costs a fortune.
An authoritative Massachusetts Medical Society study found that five out of six doctors admitted they order tests, procedures and referrals — amounting to about 25 percent of the total — solely as protection from lawsuits. Defensive medicine, estimates the libertarian/conservative Pacific Research Institute, wastes more than $200 billion a year. Just half that sum could provide a $5,000 health insurance grant — $20,000 for a family of four — to the uninsured poor (U.S. citizens ineligible for other government health assistance).
What to do? Abolish the entire medical-malpractice system. Create a new social pool from which people injured in medical errors or accidents can draw. The adjudication would be done by medical experts, not lay juries giving away lottery prizes at the behest of the liquid-tongued John Edwardses who pocket a third of the proceeds.
would require a constitutional amendment? If you think we’re having problems passing healthcare reform now, try passing a constitutional amendment.
It’s a rather clear violation of the Seventh Amendment:
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.