Spotlight: Malpractice Reform

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Malpractice-insurance costs vary widely from state to state.

Malpractice reform has always been a resoundingly popular idea with Republicans, which made the topic a perfect one for President Barack Obama to talk about in his recent address to Congress. George W. Bush had a "good idea" on malpractice reform, the President said--one he intended to pursue as part of a health-care overhaul. Cue a rare moment of bipartisan applause.

Both sides agree that current malpractice law--under which doctors pay as much as $200,000 a year for liability insurance--is often unfair and inefficient. But when it comes to fixing the system, consensus is not so simple. Democrats oppose a federal...

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