Obama vs. Romney 101: 6 ways they differ on health-care reform

Former Gov. Mitt Romney has taken a libertarian turn since championing health-care reforms in Massachusetts, including an individual mandate to purchase insurance, which became the model for President Obama's signature law. Here’s a list of areas where the candidates differ.

6. Medical malpractice reform

Carolyn Kaster/AP/File
Sherry Hoover (r.) from Carlisle Regional Medical Center and other doctors say the Pledge of Allegiance on the Capitol steps in Harrisburg, Pa., May 6, 2003, at a rally for tort reform to lower medical malpractice insurance rates in Pennsylvania. The rally ended a week-long work stoppage.

Malpractice insurance premiums are often cited as a factor in health-care inflation and the reason some physicians stop practicing medicine altogether. Obama was reluctant to include medical malpractice reform in the ACA, but according to documents reported by The New Yorker, the president was willing to consider some reform if it was the only way to keep physicians on board, though he was unwilling to cap noneconomic damages. Ultimately, he was able to pass the ACA without any medical malpractice reform.  

Romney calls for reform of the “broken medical liability system,” per his website. It says that the current medical liability system encourages defensive medicine (read: unnecessary tests) and drives up health-care costs. In response, Romney would cap noneconomic damages in medical malpractice litigation. He would also provide “innovation grants” to states to try other reforms, such as alternative dispute resolution and health-care courts.

For a full list of stories about how Romney and Obama differ on the issues, click here.

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