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Mike Ferrara
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“Defensive Medicine” Makes Dollars, but No Sense.

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The logic of all the “defensive medicine” talk doesn’t add up. Doctors all around the country insist that they often perform unnecessary tests and procedures to avoid malpractice suits, but when asked to provide a specific example of an unnecessary test or procedure they performed, they can’t give one. Performing medically unnecessary tests and/or procedures would, of course, constitute malpractice, so they won’t admit to a single case of it. You can’t have it both ways: either you’re performing unnecessary procedures or you’re not.

It’s also hard to believe that every doctor who admits to practicing defensive medicine is angry about all the extra money he or she is making because of it. Every test and procedure ordered, whether “necessary” or not, means a collected doctor fee.

As far as tort reform goes, it’s important to note that in Texas, which boasts the country’s strictest malpractice restrictions, malpractice premiums and lawsuits have gone way down. Yet, the cost of health care in Texas is the highest in the country, chiefly because doctors (according to experts in the state) are performing far more services than their patients actually need. Everyone profits but the patient.

While tort reform limits a patient’s right to a fair trial and right to compensation for injuries caused by negligent doctors, it doesn’t put an end to expensive medicine.

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  1. Mike Bryant says:
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    Texas is such a great example for so many reasons. Unfortunately, the loudest voices are lying about what it means. The Medicare numbers in comparison to Minnesota are staggering. We have low premiums, low filing, and good care. That efficiency gets us less return from Medicare, then Texas but tort reformers apparently think that Texas and their anti consumer changes are great examples. But, that is probably because cost benefit analysis of caps for them is actually a good thing. No responsibility, less risk and more profits.