The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Litigation Continues to Drive Up Health Care Costs

with 2 comments

The Manhattan Institute just released a timely report on tort reform that looks, in particular, at the ways litigation is increasing the price of health care for everyone. Here are some of the highlights as taken from their release:

The High Costs of Medical Malpractice and Defensive Medicine:

  • The direct cost of medical-malpractice litigation is $30.4 billion.
  • 93% of doctors say they have practiced defensive medicine.
  • Defensive medicine caused by medical malpractice lawsuits comprises at least 12% of the relevant gap in health care spending between the United States and other developed countries.

Other Health-Related Litigation Also Hurts Consumers:

  • Litigation costs have increased the cost of nursing-home beds by 700%.
  • Pharmaceutical litigation increases company costs which are then passed along to consumers.  For example, lawsuits over polio and diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccines drove up the prices 600% and 4,000% respectively.

Trial Lawyers’ Political Giving Has Stymied Reform:

  • The American Association for Justice, the trial lawyers’ political action committee, is the second-largest donor to Democratic candidates.
  • Lawyers gave $127 million to Congressional candidates in the 2008 political cycle –more than doctors and health professionals, hospitals and nursing homes, pharmaceutical companies, and HMOs combined.

Here in South Carolina, the legislature failed to pass two bills that would have furthered tort reform: a proposal (S 168) removing liability for doctors who provide free treatment and a Physician Transparency Act (S 582) that would make available to the public information on malpractice and disciplinary actions against physicians.

To read more, see our recent fact sheet on tort reform, as well as our health care legislative update.

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Written by Jameson Taylor

October 14, 2009 at 9:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Thank you very much for the updates!

    James Miller

    October 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm

  2. […] The Palmetto Insider | Litigation Continues to Drive Up Health Care Costs […]


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