Johns Hopkins Study-Medical Malpractice Claims Not Driving Up Healthcare Costs

In spite of the political rhetoric, a new Johns Hopkins study concludes that medical malpractice payouts are not responsible for the rise in healthcare costs. According to an article in the Insurance Journal, “In their review of malpractice payouts over $1 million, the researchers say those payments added up to roughly $1.4 billion a year, making up far less than 1 percent of national medical expenditures in the United States.” “The notion that frivolous claims are routinely resulting in $100 million payouts is not true,” says study leader Marty Makary, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery and health policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “The real problem is that far too many tests and procedures are being performed in the name of defensive medicine, as physicians fear they could be sued if they don’t order them. That costs upwards of $60 billion a year. It is not the payouts that are bankrupting the system — it’s the fear of them.” Dr. Makary asserts that unnecessary tests and procedures are the real culprit and reform should focus on this phenomenon as well as a real effort at resolving medical errors.