Medical malpractice litigation raises health-care cost, reduces access, and lowers quality of care

J Med Pract Manage. 2004 Jul-Aug;20(1):44-51.


This article examines the impact of medical malpractice litigation on health-care cost, the availability of employer-sponsored health insurance, and the quality of health-care services. Among the findings are that unlimited, uncapped medical malpractice litigation added as much as 97.5 billion dollars annually to the cost of hospital and physician services; increased the annual cost of employer-provided health insurance by as much as 12.7 percent; decreased by 2.7 million the number of workers and their families covered by employer-provided health insurance; caused a 6 percent decline in physicians in the U.S., many of whom work in critical specialty areas; lost access to critical medical services for up to 14.4 million people; resulted in malpractice underwriting losses of 8.6 billion dollars in 2001, double that of 10 years earlier; and had a low predictive value in identifying whether medical malpractice had occurred.

MeSH terms

  • Compensation and Redress / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Fees and Charges / trends
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Liability / economics
  • Liability, Legal / economics*
  • Malpractice / economics
  • Malpractice / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Physicians / economics
  • Physicians / supply & distribution
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • United States