Letter to the Editor

Charleston Daily Mail
Friday, June 26, 2009

Lawsuits and defensive medicine are not inflating health care costs
The Daily Mail's June 16 editorial suggested that legal costs are driving up the cost of health care.
Time and again, the evidence has debunked this notion.
Every government agency that has taken a serious look at "defensive medicine" - the notion that doctors perform expensive and unnecessary tests out of fear of being sued - has found little evidence of it.
This is especially true in West Virginia, where the legal rights of injured patients have already been substantially weakened.
Meanwhile, the costs of medical errors are enormous. According to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, preventable medical errors cost $17 billion to $29 billion each year, and kill up to 98,000 people.
Shouldn't discussion about lowering medical costs begin there?
Andy Hoffman
New York, N.Y.
Hoffman is an attorney and policy analyst for the Center for Justice & Democracy.

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