Medical Malpractice Doesnít Cost As Much As You Think

06th October 2011
By Maria Palma in Medical Malpractice
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There has been a great deal of talk about the topic of medical malpractice with many people advocating that reform is much needed. It’s been said that medical malpractice has driven up the cost of health care in the United States. The traditional way of reforming medical malpractice is to put a cap put on damages paid by a doctor. Others have recommended limiting the ability of patients to sue. However, a recent study by Harvard researchers may change the way we look at malpractice reform.

The Harvard University study found that the medical liability system only amounts to 2.4 percent of American health care expenditures. Furthermore, the study also suggests that the cost of medical malpractice lawsuits is below one percent of the $55.6 billion spent on health care in the U.S. in 2008.

The study took into account judgements granted to malpractice plaintiffs, defensive medicine costs, administrative costs such as lawyer fees, and the costs of lost work time.

This study sheds some light on the bigger picture of health care costs. Malpractice reform may not be as big an issue as economists and politicians are making it out to be.

In light of the debate regarding reforming medical malpractice laws, a recent article written by Peter Orszag at the New York Times offers this proposal for reform: "[A]nyone who could demonstrate that he has followed the recommended course for treating a specific illness or condition could not be held liable."

Peter Orszag’s idea has been met with disapproval from other journalists and members of the medical community. They say that allowing the use of guidelines raises issues of fairness. Orszag’s idea also doesn’t take into account the differences in patients’ health situations.

Another issue with medical malpractice as it pertains to reform is the cost of malpractice insurance rates. There’s the belief among hospital associations that having a cap will lower medical malpractice insurance rates. Meanwhile, many trial lawyers say that states that do have caps on damages have seen no decrease in malpractice insurance premiums. They believe that damages lawsuits are the best ways to protect patients.

Even if malpractice reform isn’t considered in the current health care bill, the medical community should not allow lawmakers to keep them from focusing on what they believe is in the best interests of the patient. As long as health care practitioners offer the best possible care and are protected with medical malpractice insurance, they should not have to worry about anything else.

About the Author:
Maria Palma is a freelance writer and internet marketer dedicated to helping businesses expand their online presence. If you are seeking medical malpractice insurance, you can request a free quote online.

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