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Medical Malpractice Payments Continue to Fall

The National Practitioner Data Bank has determined that fewer medical malpractice payments were made on behalf of doctors in 2009 than any year on record. This statistic contradicts the GOP claims that medical malpractice litigation is to blame for rising healthcare costs that the elimination would help save health care. This level of malpractice payments was the lowest since 1999 and the payments were at their lowest since 1992. While healthcare spending rose 83 percent, medical malpractice payments have fallen 8 percent. The figures of medical malpractice payments only equals .14 of 1 percent of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ in the overall of U.S. healthcare spending.

Healthcare Finance News claims that this is the fifth consecutive year that the number of medical malpractice payments has fallen and the sixth straight year in which the value of payments have fallen. This contrasts with healthcare costs that have increased every year since 1965. However, an even more alarming comparison comes when you measure the amount of medical malpractice payments to that of deaths from medical err. The Institute of Medicine found that 44,000 to 98,000 die every year due to avoidable errors. The director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, David Arkush, calls the recent attacks on medical malpractice ridiculous. He stated that some members of Congress are continuing to obsess and exaggerate one problem. He hopes that they focus on fixing the real problem of diminishing the large numbers of medical errs. To read more about the medical malpractice report, please click the link.