Ethel Zimmerman Wiener Professor of Public Policy, HKS; Henry and Allison McCance Professor of Business Administration, HBS
about reducing the rate of growth of health expenditures have reignited
interest in medical liability reforms and their potential to save money
by reducing the practice of defensive medicine. It is not easy to
estimate the costs of the medical liability system, however. This
article identifies the various components of liability system costs,
generates national estimates for each component, and discusses the
level of evidence available to support the estimates. Overall annual
medical liability system costs, including defensive medicine, are
estimated to be $55.6 billion in 2008 dollars, or 2.4 percent of total
health care spending.
Mello, Michelle M., Amitabh Chandra, Atul A. Gawande, and David M. Studdert. "National Costs Of The Medical Liability System." Health Affairs 29.9 (September 2010): 1569-1577.