Breitbart.com reports today on an interesting study that reveals 42 percent of doctors say they over treat patients just to cover their butts in case of a lawsuit. As a person who works in a hospital this is not surprising news to me, and I bet many doctors are being dishonest -- that the percentage is much higher.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, also showed that 52 percent of doctors said their patients received the right amount of care, and 45 percent reported that 1 of 10 patients didn't even need to be in the doctor's office.
Seventy six percent said they believed the main reason for useless medical procedures was the result of fear of a malpractice suit. For this reason they order a variety of tests and procedures that they don't think are needed, but order just so they look good in a court of law.
Breitbart notes that the United States has the highest per capita spending on healthcare of developed nations of about $5,475, and the second highest nation is Switzerland at $3,581.
When unnecessary procedures are ordered this increases the price of the product, according to economics 101. As the demand for a product or service increases (more patients getting x-rays for example) and the supply stays the same (same # of x-ray machines and x-ray technicians) the price has no where to go but up.
Other things that have been proven to drive up the cost of healthcare is free healthcare that results from medicare and Medicaid services. When something is available for free to the patient they don't hesitate to seek help even when they could have stayed home.
This study sheds more light on the need for healthcare reform that provides doctors with an incentive to order what is needed rather than what they think lawyers would like to have ordered or what needs to be ordered to meet reimbursement criteria.
What do you think?