Thomas Bodenheimer, MD
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Bodenheimer T.; Outlier Status of U.S. Health Care Costs. Ann Intern Med. 2005;143:760. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-143-10-200511150-00025
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2005;143(10):760.
Dr. Keberlein argues that costs related to malpractice litigation are “the elephant in the room” of high and rising health care costs in the United States. Indeed, there are major differences between the malpractice systems of the United States and those of other nations. However, the problem can better be described as a “big dog in the room” rather than an elephant. Studies of the costs of malpractice litigation and “defensive medicine” practiced to protect against litigation estimate the costs to be 5% to 9% of health expenditures (1, 2)—a large sum, but not quite an elephant. Does the malpractice system need reform? Drastically. Could such reform solve the problem of high and rising costs? Probably not.
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