This setting lets you change the way you view articles. You can choose to have articles open in a dialog window, a new tab, or directly in the same window.
Open in Dialog
Open in New Tab
Open in same window

Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 25 No. 2 (Spring 2011)

Expand

Quick Tools:

Print Article Summary
Export Citation
Sign up for Email Alerts Follow us on Twitter

Explore:

JEP - All Issues


Evaluating the Medical Malpractice System and Options for Reform

Article Citation

Kessler, Daniel P. 2011. "Evaluating the Medical Malpractice System and Options for Reform." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(2): 93-110.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.25.2.93

Abstract

The U.S. medical malpractice liability system has two principal objectives: to compensate patients who are injured through the negligence of healthcare providers and to deter providers from practicing negligently. In practice, however, the system is slow and costly to administer. It both fails to compensate patients who have suffered from bad medical care and compensates those who haven't. According to opinion surveys of physicians, the system creates incentives to undertake cost-ineffective treatments based on fear of legal liability—to practice "defensive medicine." The failures of the liability system and the high cost of health care in the United States have led to an important debate over tort policy. How well does malpractice law achieve its intended goals? How large of a problem is defensive medicine and can reforms to malpractice law reduce its impact on healthcare spending? The flaws of the existing system have led a number of states to change their laws in a way that would reduce malpractice liability—to adopt "tort reforms." Evidence from several studies suggests that wisely chosen reforms have the potential to reduce healthcare spending significantly with no adverse impact on patient health outcomes.

Article Full-Text Access

Full-text Article (Complimentary)

Authors

Kessler, Daniel P. (Stanford U)

JEL Classifications

H51: National Government Expenditures and Health
I11: Analysis of Health Care Markets
I18: Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
K13: Tort Law and Product Liability

Comments

View Comments on This Article (0) | Login to post a comment


Journal of Economic Perspectives


Quick Tools:

Sign up for Email Alerts

Follow us on Twitter

Subscription Information
(Institutional Administrator Access)

Explore:

JEP - All Issues

Virtual Field Journals


AEA Member Login:


AEAweb | AEA Journals | Contact Us