A reader writes:
Both of my parents are physicians in Massachusetts, and, while they may be biased in their opinions about the merits of malpractice, they emphasize that it has caused them more and more to practice defensive medicine.
Simply put, defensive medicine is the use of medical practices designed to prevent malpractice. A 25 year-old kid may come to a physician complaining of chest pain.
The likelihood that they have a life-threatening condition is as close to zero as can be doctors will order an MRI just so that they cannot be sued later on for not following procedure. What that means is that insurance pays $1,000 for an unnecessary procedure, which could’ve been spent on something worthwhile. Physicians study and work for 8 years post-college in order to ply their trade, and in a lot of situations, are equipped to make decisions without the need for costly tests. Defensive medicine leads to hundreds of billions of dollars in wasted medical spending money that could spent elsewhere. Tort reform should be a major consideration in reforming the healthcare system.