Health care reform should include tort reform, because this would decrease the cost of malpractice insurance and legal fees. A reasonable cap needs to be placed upon punitive damages, even in the cases of severe injury or death. Since every human life is priceless, it’s difficult to place a monetary value on human life. However, when presented with this ugly task, here are some suggestions from the Bible:
Leviticus 27:1-8 lists various amounts for “dedicating persons to the Lord.” The highest amount listed is fifty shekels of silver, or about 1.25 pounds, for “a male between the ages of twenty and sixty.” With the price of silver of about $14 per ounce, this would be about $280 today. Obviously, this is far too low for today’s standards, so let’s keep looking.
Matthew 20:9 states that a day’s wages was a denarius, which was a silver coin weighing about 0.16 ounces. At today’s price of silver, this was about $2 for a day’s wages. So, the $280 from Leviticus 27 would equate to several months’ worth of wages, or maybe about one years’ wages. In today’s world, this might be whatever the injured party’s annual salary is, or we might select an average number around $30,000 to $50,000, or maybe even a more generous of $100,000. However, this still seems too low to us for the value of a human life.
In Genesis 29:18, Laban worked for seven years for Jacob, in return for Rachel’s hand in marriage. So, maybe we could conclude that a life is worth seven years of wages. Using the above numbers, we could argue that this might place the value of a human life between $200,000 and $700,000, or a more generous amount of about $1,000,000.
Since a human life is priceless, it’s certainly worth more than one million dollars. However, this might be a reasonable cap for punitive damages in determining what a human life is worth in our legal system. The average person could easily live on the interest on this amount, which, at 5%, would be $50,000 per year. It’s a difficult decision that nobody wants to make, but it’s necessary. If certain lawyers want to sue for millions of dollars (of which they keep 40%), we should ask them why they’re not out there bringing lawsuits against the doctors who intentionally perform abortions and take the lives of unborn babies.