I have read conflicting reports about torte reform reducing the cost of insurance. To assume that it will make little difference seems strange to my simpleton mind. Dr.'s are a business and if their cost of doing business goes through the roof do you believe these cost's are passed on ? When the cost of copper went from .60/ft to 2.50/ft the cost of doing plumbing jobs went up. If an OB/GYN pays 250,000/yr does that cost get past on the the consumer? I'm not saying it's the only contributing factor in high health care costs ,but it does not help.
Here is another example of waste that could help reduce cost. If I'm in a nursing home and my monthly meds are prescribed and I have a 30 day supply and I croak on the 2nd of the month. All the other meds get thrown away even though they still in the bubble pack. Seems like there are some waste issue's that can be with...by the way gov't regs require those meds to be chucked....those could be thousands of dollars worth
I also admit that I don't understand exactly how all of the different puzzles interconnect on this issue , I try to find folks that do understand and analyze their results. As far as I'm aware, the most comprehensive and up-to-date study was done by the CBO last year - http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/99xx/doc9924 ... Issues.pdf - it's a big document, but they get to tort reform around p 153 - their basic conclusion was that tort reform wouldn't have any measurable effect on health care spending. Outside of the CBO, it's hard to find studies on such a politically charged subject that aren't too badly spun - this article from a blog over at Salon looks at some of the common issues raised by the right and is pretty well researched (it's Salon, so they're coming from the left, but as long as you know that going in, you can calibrate your BS meter accordingly): http://open.salon.com/blog/mahabarbara/ ... ort_reform
You raise some good points about waste - there's probably millions of little things like you've cited that do add up, but that stuff only gets you so far, and that's not far enough - it'd be great to address all those little wasteful things, but it's no substitute for real reform, and it doesn't do squat for the tens of millions of people that can't get insurance.
The bottom line, for me anyway, is that we spend way too much and get way too little for it, and it's an incredible handicap for America as we try to compete in a global economy -and it's getting worse at an unbelievable rate. It can be hard to wrap your brain about just how out of whack the US system is compared with the rest of the world, but this graphic does about as good a job as any I've seen (from National Geographic):
-Daniel Patrick Moynihan