Defensive Medicine

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Defensive Medicine
Is It Costing Our Heath Care?
Teresa Botts
Baptist College of Health Sciences


Our Nation is currently engaged in a debate about the future of health care in America. Health care reform has several platforms to be addressed in order for it to be successfully implemented. Tort reform, being one of those platforms, is proposed as one solution to the rapidly increasing health care cost in the United States. Careful reform of medical malpractice laws can lower administrative costs and health spending. This will also lead to improved patient safety and steer physicians away from the costly practice of defensive medicine.

Defensive Medicine
Is It Costing Our Health Care System?

As the debate continues on national health care reform, both Republicans and Democrats agree that bipartisan cooperation and compromise are necessary to solve America’s health care problem. Rising cost, unequal access, and average outcome describes some of the issues that are currently on the reform agenda for these political parties. As this debate continues, one of the topics that are being discussed is tort reform. Tort reform refers to proposed changes in the civil justice system that would reduce tort litigation or damages. In the United States tort reform is a contentious political issue. US tort reform advocates propose, among other things, procedural limits on the ability to file claims, and capping the awards of damages. Democrat Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus wrote in a health care reform paper, “Careful reforms of medical malpractice laws can lower administrative cost and health spending…. A serious effort at comprehensive health care reform then should address medical malpractice.” Baucus argues tort reform would lead to “improved patient safety” and move physicians “away from the costly practice of defensive medicine and toward the best quality of care.”(Baucus, 2009) A Harvard School of...
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