So what can we do? First, we cannot have health care reform without tort reform. The two are intertwined. For example, one supposed justification for socialized medicine is the high cost of health care. As Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently noted, “If Mr. Obama is serious about lowering costs, he'll need to reform the economic structures in medicine—especially programs like Medicare.”  Two examples of these “economic structures” are high malpractice insurance premiums foisted on physicians (and ultimately passed on to consumers as “high health care costs”) and the billions wasted on defensive medicine.What Palin is saying here is so obvious it's almost silly to say. It would be silly of course if Obama's plan included tort reform. It doesn't and that's one of a plethora of problems of Obama's health care reform effort.
The problems with our litigious society and it's effects on health care are obvious. Doctors spend tens of thousands yearly for malpractice insurance. They order batteries of tests on each and every patient simply to avoid potential lawsuits. All of this costs money. It causes doctors to practice medicine cautiously and it clogs the system with lawsuits.
The answers aren't as simple. Everyone says we need "tort reform". Well tort reform is a concept. It's not as though there is a "tort reform" bill ready and able. There are specific reforms that need to be implemented that would discourage frivilous lawsuits, discourage irrelevant tests, and stop doctors from practicing defensive medicine.
Many pundits that want to feel smart say that we need "tort reform". That's fine but very few of them have specific tort reforms. There are two obvious ones. The first is to make loser pay in any lawsuit. That should cut down on junk lawsuits. The second is to set caps on lawsuits. That one sounds good in theory but by doing so, you place limits on lives. Caps on lawsuits also means caps on damages in cases of signficant malicious medical malpractice. Would you want to limit the damage if a doctor operated on a patient drunk for instance?
Beyond those two, I hear very few tort reform ideas. Palin offers very few ideas besides her own state's cap on lawsuits. I would ask the former Governor if she thinks that we should set a cap on damages if a doctor operated drunk. I believe tort reform is vital but there needs to be serious analysis and a sophisticated program of specific tort reforms. The governor identified the problem here but did little to identify specific solutions.
As for Palin, it's now clear she is going to continue to contribute to the health care debate. She appears to want to use Facebook. Contributing substantively to the national debate of the day is the best way for Palin to make her presence felt on the national stage and that's exactly what she's doing.