August 2012

A Systemic Approach to Containing Health Care Spending

The proponents of limits (caps) on lawyers fees in medical malpractice lawsuits usually arguethat this will reduce doctors premiums and reduce health care costs. The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, just published an article disputing this claim. Here is one quote, and a link to the article:

More than 75% of physicians -- and virtually all physicians in high-risk specialties -- face a malpractice claim over the course of their careerStrategies to control costs associated with medical malpractice and defensive medicine must be responsible and targeted. These strategies must not impose arbitrary caps on damages for patients who are injured as a result of malpractice. According to the congressional Budget Office, arbitrary caps on damages would reduce national health spending by only 0.5%. But although such caps would have a barely measurable effect on costs, they might adversely affect health outcomes.

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