Medical malpractice costs comprise less than 1 of overall health costs. In 2002, medical related costs rose almost 10% to $1.5 trillion. Yet malpractice premiums expenditures were only $9.6 billion – making malpractice costs about .64 percent of national health care expenditures.
First, I grant you, this is old data. But, if anything, medical costs rising a lot faster than malpractice verdicts, which are reported to be falling in many jurisdictions (for example, Texas). Doctors claim defensive medicine costs are not included in this number. But I’ve always said I think most doctors do what is best for the patient as opposed to worrying about malpractice lawsuits. And a lot of “defensive medicine” is just good medical care.