Medical malpractice suits may not be doing as much to drive up U.S. health care system costs as some system observers believe.[@@]
Gerald Anderson, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, and colleagues have published a paper discussing that proposition in the latest issue of Health Affairs, a health care finance and delivery academic journal.
“The 2 most important reasons for higher U.S. spending appear to be higher incomes and higher medical care prices,” Anderson and his colleagues write in the paper.
The researchers looked at records for malpractice settlements and judgments in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom as well as in the United States.
U.S. health care costs averaged $5,267 per person in 2002, and that average was 53% higher than the average for any other country included in the study, the researchers write.
U.S. providers faced 18 malpractice claims for each 100,000 U.S. residents. That was much higher than the Canadian malpractice claims rate of 4 claims per 100,000 residents, but comparable to the claims rate of 12 claims per 100,000 residents in Australia and Canada.