Will Obama trade malpractice reform for public option?

In about 90 minutes, President Obama will address the American Medical Association (AMA) on the need for healthcare reform. But a NY Times story this morning suggests Obama will have more than rhetoric to offer.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Robert Pear report that President Obama is open to addressing medical malpractice liability, perhaps the signature issue for the AMA. Could the administration be getting ready to trade its support for liability reform in exchange for the AMA supporting a public health insurance option, which the association has long opposed?

Though Obama has never publicly endorsed caps on jury awards, one could see him tying it together with the rest of his reform package, a central tenet of which is reducing healthcare costs.

And at least one influential member of the administration is on board:
And another top health adviser to Mr. Obama, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, has written extensively on liability reform.

"There is no doubt that comprehensive health care reform requires a monumental change to the current malpractice system, which not only hurts both doctors and patients, but also is far too expensive," Dr. Emanuel, the brother of the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, wrote in a 2008 book, "Healthcare Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America."

Keep an eye on what Obama says about tort reform during his speech this morning.

More in Healthcare

Different approach to FDA user fee reauthorizations needed

Read more »