Tort reformers blame the high cost of American health care on defensive responses to rampant medical malpractice litigation. Defenders of the tort system counter that holding health care providers liable for negligence improves safety and ensures compensation for injury. The relationship between medical malpractice and health care expenditures is more complex than either of these positions reflects. The existing medical malpractice system increases medical spending mainly because it has evolved in tandem with other inflationary features of the health care system and may make those features even more difficult to change. In other words, medical malpractice is both a symptom of a costly health care system and a costly disease in its own right.
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