The Cost of Defensive Medicine

Whenever politicians talk about health care, the topic of medical malpractice reform inevitably arises. Healthcare providers’ insurance companies often argue that doctors order tests and procedures that are not needed. Critics argue that this healthcare raises costs for everyone. It’s a theory that is cited often…and a theory that is not well founded.

According to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health, very little of health care’s costs are attributable to defensive medicine:

“A new study reveals that the cost of medical malpractice in the United States is running at about $55.6 billion a year – $45.6 billion of which is spent on defensive medicine practiced by physicians seeking to stay clear of lawsuits. The amount comprises 2.4% of the nation’s total health care expenditure.”

According to this study, ending defensive medicine is “unlikely to be a source of significant savings.” All the talk about medical malpractice reform is just an effort to focus attention away from high-priced insurance profits. Taking away your legal rights is bad medicine.

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