By: David Freddoso
Commentary Staff Writer
09/21/09 9:59 AM EDT
Since passing tort reform in 2004, Mississippi has seen the number of medical malpractice claims plummet by 91 percent from its peak. The state’s largest medical liability insurer dropped its premiums by 42 percent, and has offered an additional 20 percent rebate each year since tort reform went into effect.
That is the story that Mississippi’s Republican, governor, Haley Barbour, offered on Friday, speaking at the Heritage Foundation. He also made an observation about President Obama’s decision to offer only token “demonstration projects” on lawsuit abuse rather than address it meaningfully in his health care reform proposal.
“It’s mysterious to me that the administration and the leadership of Congress talk about health care reform and the goal of reducing costs, and yet refuse to put tort reform into the legislation,” he said. “I believe $200, $250 billion a year in health care costs is caused by litigation. It may be more than that. But this is the lowest hanging fruit, this ain’t rocket science. If they want a demonstration project, come down to Mississippi, and I’ll show you a demonstration project.” (Last month, Barbour wrote this op-ed for The Examiner on insurance reform.)