More Malpractice Jury Myths

MYTH # 2:  Malpractice cases drive up health insurance costs.

The myth that malpractice cases drive up health care costs and as a result health insurance premiums is a particularly pernicious myth.  Most jurors believe this myth and it affects their willingness to find in favor of those who have been injured by medical negligence.  The facts do not support the myth.

The total annual health care expenditures in this country are huge.  Total spending for 2009, the last year for which figures are available, was $2.5 trillion dollars.  This amount was 17.6% of our Gross Domestic Product. 

The costs associated with medical malpractice cases include the costs to the health care profession to defend the cases and the amount paid out in settlements or judgments.  These costs are miniscule compared to the overall amount of health care spending.  In 2008 the Congressional Budget Office estimated that malpractice related costs made up only 1/2 of 1% of our health care spending.   

As I have pointed out repeatedly in past posts, medical negligence causes unnecessary injuries which need to be treated, often at great cost.  Reducing medical malpractice by only a small amount, would save huge amounts of money.  Instead of devoting their energies to reducing the incidence of malpractice, many in the health care industry work to reduce your right to be compensated in the event you are injured by medical negligence.  If you are trying to increase your profits, this may make sense, but not if you are trying to make it better for all of us.

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