Philip K. Howard, whose nonsense medical malpractice "health courts" idea I’ve panned before, is back pushing more hooey from two insurance and corporate front groups, Common Good and the Committee for Economic Development:

Because modern medicine is so complex, reliability almost certainly requires some kind of special court.  This country has a long history of such courts, such as bankruptcy courts, and it’s hard to imagine an area of society in greater need of special judicial expertise than health-care.  That’s why a broad coalition has come out for pilot projects–including AARP, the AMA, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health-care Organizations, and many others

That’s what the American people want as well.  Today, Common Good and the Committee for Economic Development released a survey that showed an astonishingly high 83 percent of voters want Congress to address reform of the medical malpractice system as part of any health-care reform plan.  Moreover, even though the survey found that most Americans generally favor jury trials, for health-care disputes they overwhelmingly support special health courts–an extraordinary 67 percent support a new court system for health-care.

83% of voters want Howard’s brand of tort reform? That’s certainly the impression you get from his article.

Read the actual survey. I dare you.

Here’s the extraordinarily vague question they asked:

DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT: As part of any health care reform plan, Congress needs to change the medical malpractice system so that cases are resolved quicker, and more reliably, on behalf of those who are in the right.

Like that 83%, I, too, agree with that statement, as would every trial lawyer, consumer advocate, and patient I know. Our clients wait years just to have their cases heard in court, where they are subject to a variety of "unreliable" variables, including biased defense experts who invent "medicine" out of whole cloth. 

But it doesn’t mean a thing about tort reform. It means the people generally want "to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding," which nobody opposes.

Nice try; while you insurance companies are at it, perhaps you’d like to explain why you trust voters to decide health care policy issues but not sit on medical malpractice juries?