Following is a GAO report on medical malpractice and could not find any evidence to substantiate the claims of lawsuits impacting health care costs, access to health care or defensive medicine (with one possible lose connection relating to OBGYN). But of course you will not see this report on any media outlet swinging left or right.

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d03836.pdf

Remember the CBO report regarding the cost of a single payer system that we all grasped to support our arguments against a single payer system…

Well, there is the CBO report which had this to say about tort reform:

“But even large savings in premiums can have only a small direct impact on health care spending–private or governmental–because malpractice costs account for less than 2 percent of that spending.”

http://www.cbo.gov/doc.cfm?index=4968&type=0#t3

And of course there is Tillinghast-Towers Perrin (one of the largest in the world that provides risk management for the insurance and reinsurance industry).

According to the actuarial consulting firm Towers Perrin, medical malpractice tort costs were $30.4 billion in 2007, the last year for which data are available. We have a more than a $2 trillion health care system. That puts litigation costs and malpractice insurance at 1 to 1.5 percent of total medical costs. That’s a rounding error. Liability isn’t even the tail on the cost dog. It’s the hair on the end of the tail.

Of that 1 to 1.5 percent what portion of that is “frivolous”?

http://www.towersperrin.com/tp/getwebcachedoc?webc=USA/2008/200811/2008_tort_costs_trends.pdf (Page 10)

And then of course the report from Towers Perrin that states that the total tort cost in the US is 2% of the GDP. What percentage of that is “frivolous” and of that percentage what percentage is “frivolous” corporate lawsuits. So how much are “frivolous” lawsuits driving up the cost of everything? Maybe less than 2 cents on the dollar or maybe even less the 1 cent on the dollar?
http://www.towersperrin.com/tp/getwebcachedoc?webc=USA/2008/200811/2008_tort_costs_trends.pdf

It is unfortunate that everyone is so willing to give up their right to sue with such a small cost to society, if in fact these facts are true. If that is the case then maybe we should do something with smokers or overweight people such as myself. After all they present a tremendous cost to society. Or maybe we should ration end of life care as this has a significant cost to society.

Maybe doctors are practicing defensive medicine for other reasons like getting paid for procedures. Maybe doctors are practicing defensive medicine because of the exaggerations of tort costs.  Maybe insurance rates are going up for other reasons and lawsuits and trial lawyers are an easy target because we know how our own exaggerations can drive our anger and hate.

I do not know but the numbers are just not holding up the case for tort reform.

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