If you’ve ever heard that US healthcare is expensive because of medical malpractice lawsuits, don’t believe it.

Medical malpractice lawsuits require insurance for doctors and hospitals, which some people claims makes overall costs skyrocket.

But in actuality, malpractice lawsuits aren’t the culprit. According to a recent Johns Hopkins study:

U.S. malpractice payouts of more than $1 million added up to roughly $1.4 billion a year — making up far less than 1 percent of national medical expenditures in the United States. The cost of U.S. healthcare was $2.6 trillion in 2010.

And while the insurance and testing to protect against malpractice suits can get expensive, even that “defensive medicine” doesn’t make a large dent in overall costs. Consider Texas as an example:

In 2003, Texas passed a tort reform law that essentially prevents large lawsuits. Supporters claimed it would limit frivolous lawsuits and help doctors save on insurance costs; and yet the cost of insurance in that state has barely gone down at all.

A recent Fresh Air episode called “Paying Till It Hurts” discusses the real reasons health care costs so much in the United States. There’s no one answer – the problem is complex. But one thing I can say for certain: Medical malpractice is not the villain here.

Darrell Castle is a Memphis medical malpractice lawyer. If you have questions about a medical malpractice case, contact him today to discuss your situation for free.