Obama Cautiously Endorses Medical Liability Reform

     WASHINGTON (CN) – President Obama has ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to begin making grants to states to explore alternative medical liability schemes.
The grant money will come from a 1999 Congressional authorization to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to support demonstration projects and to evaluate the effectiveness of projects regarding all aspects of health care.
     In a memorandum to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Obama noted that although malpractice premiums are only a very small percentage of total medical costs, many doctors report fear of lawsuits leads them to practice defensive medicine, while between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die each year from medical error.
     Obama stressed that medical liability reform must be just one part of broader health insurance reform that slows the growth of health care costs for families, businesses, and government.

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