Continued Decrease in
Medical Malpractice Payments Debunks Theory That Litigation Is to Blame for
Soaring Medical Costs
August 6, 2013 —
A decade after reaching their
peak, the quantity and cumulative value of medical malpractice payments made on
behalf of doctors were at their lowest level on record in 2012, according to a
new Public Citizen analyzing data from the federal government’s National
Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).
The facts surrounding the
prevalence of medical malpractice litigation are important for several reasons,
the report contends.
Medical malpractice has been singled out by many in
Congress as the culprit for rising health care costs. Meanwhile, Republicans in
Congress have made it a perennial priority to pass legislation what would
restrict patients’ ability to seek redress in court. The
facts clearly contradict contentions that malpractice litigation significantly influences health care
costs. Since 2003, medical malpractice payments have fallen 28.8 percent, yet
national health care costs are up 58.2 percent.
Lawmakers intent on serving
their constituents should focus on reducing the errors that lead to litigation,
not reducing accountability for the errors.
Read the report.