Prominent economist Uwe Reinhardt explains why health care costs are rising. Here’s how he defines defensive medicine, which is among his four identified major cost drivers:
. . . higher treatment costs triggered by our uniquely American tort laws, which in the context of medicine can lead to “defensive medicine” “” that is, the application of tests and procedures mainly as a defense against possible malpractice litigation, rather than as a clinical imperative.
I completely agree. Defensive medicine accounts to $210 billion annually in wasted health dollars, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers analysis released earlier this year.