Will Tort Reform Actually Decrease Healthcare Spending in the US?

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A recent study questions whether the pursuit of tort reform is worthwhile in aiming to significantly lower healthcare spending in the United States. The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published research by Michael B. Rothberg of the Cleveland Clinic which deduced “that defensive medicine accounts for about 2.9% of healthcare spending.” This means that defensive medicine accounts for $78 billion of the estimated $2.7-trillion U.S. healthcare bill (LA Times, 2014).

While $78 billion is a large figure, those not in favor of tort reform as a means of healthcare cost control argue that the current cost of defensive medicine perils in comparison to overall healthcare spending. Other’s generally in favor of tort reform believe the small number is representative of “the injustice of the stringent limits on malpractice lawsuits advocated by doctors, insurance companies and Republican policymakers,” and that these caps should be reassessed (LA Times, 2014).

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