David W. Oliker was absolutely right to identify tort reform as key to combating skyrocketing health care costs (Nov. 30 essay, “Quality, affordability, accessibility are all key”). Defensive medicine adds significantly to America’s health care bill.
To protect themselves against costly and often frivolous medical-malpractice lawsuits, doctors and hospitals order more tests and procedures than they would otherwise deem medically necessary. The resulting cost — more than $124 billion each year — adds 3.4 million Americans to the rolls of the uninsured because of higher health insurance premiums.
Defensive medicine is prevalent in New York because the state has the highest relative medical-malpractice monetary tort losses in the nation. Any serious plan to curb defensive medicine and lower health care costs must include meaningful tort reform.