Tort Reform Won’t Help

The Republicans keep touting Tort Reform as a way to save money. For example, some of them say it would save $124-billion by reducing defensive medicine. This number has been debunked by the CBO. They found under the best-case scenario, it would save at most $11-billion.

At the same time, the CBO found that in states that had Tort Reform, medical errors and injuries increased. Finally, the report says that the cost of malpractice insurance is going up because of poor investments by Insurance Companies and low stock prices due to the economic crisis.

But even if the $124-billion were accurate, it wouldn’t help. $124-billion out 2.24-trillion spent on health care only equals a one-time improvement of 5% of the costs. That’s only $15 on a $300 plan. Since the costs are currently going up at a rate of 6.9% per year, a 5% savings would be wiped out in the first year.

Medical Malpractice Insurance and court cases are also not causing medical cost to rise. The actual cost of medical malpractice suits to the medical system is less than 1%. Several different studies show this. First, a 2006 American College of Surgeons report puts the cost at 0.45%. Second, according a study by the Des Moines Register Editorial Board (07/11/03) “The total [malpractice] premiums paid in 2000 added up to 0.56 of the nation’s total health-care bill. Finally, a 1999 study in the Journal of Health Economics found only tiny savings – less than three-tenths of one percent – when studying the cost of Caesarian sections in states with limits on lawsuits, compared to states without limits.”

Even if you take the highest number, that’s only $1.50
on a $300 policy.

A Quiz For Global-Warming Deniers.

We commonly hear that Global Warming is “junk science” and that all the claims have been discredited. If that is so, then it should be easy to address each of the basic ideas behind global warming. So, for  Man-made Global Warming deniers, which of the following facts don’t you believe?

1. We are burning more and more coal, oil and natural gas. (Doubled since 1960.)

2. Burning oil, coal, and natural gas releases CO2. (Doubled since 1970)

3. The Oceans have a fixed volume of water and have a limited ability to absorb CO2.

4. Plants have a limited ability to absorb CO2 and with deforestation it is decreasing. (10-million hectares/year.)

5. The net amount of CO2 in the atmospher is increasing; by 23% since 1959 and by 49% since 1850. (1850 = 280PPM.)

6. The current CO2 level of 390 PPM is higher than any time in the last 400,000 years. (Previous peak from Antartice ice cores 300PPM)

7. The last time CO2 levels were has high as today was 2.1-million years ago. (Previous pre-industrial peaks were around 300PPM, 400,000 years ago).

8. CO2 blocks Infrared radiation centered around 1.4um and is thus a greenhouse gas.

9. The CO2 increase over the last 150 years is responsible for the earth retaining 1.4 watts per M^2.

10. Various cycles such as sun spot cycles, orbital cycles, etc. amount to no more that 0.4 watts per M^2.

11. Positive feedback mechanisms, methane release, less snow cover, increased water vapor increase the effects by 2 to 9 watts per M^2.

12. Control quesiton: the earth is more than 2-billion years old.