The Cost of “Defensive Medicine” caused by the Threat of Lawsuits

“physicians estimate[d] the cost of defensive medicine to be in the $650 to $850 billion range, or between 26 and 35 percent of annual health care costs in the U.S.”

.. The practice of defensive medicine, which squanders hundreds of billions of dollars annually, is a response to an increasingly litigious society in which one in 14 physicians faces a malpractice suit every year. This creates a strong incentive to perform additional and perhaps unnecessary tests to exhaust every potential diagnosis — no matter how improbable — to buttress a defense in court. These costs are passed on to patients or to “the system.”