September 30th, 2009
04:11 PM ET

Keeping them honest: Health Insurance – The fear factor

Editor's Note: All week we're teaming up with CNNMoney.com on a special series on health care insurance reform. Tune in tonight for in-depth coverage on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

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Parija B. Kavilanz
CNNMoney.com Senior Writer

Every time a doctor orders an extra test for you, it pushes up your medical costs and - some experts say - contributes to the waste in the nation's $2.2 trillion in health care spending.

While there's much debate about the actual dollar impact of this controversial practice called "defensive medicine," experts agree it's an obstacle to reining in the medical care expenses.

Defensive medicine occurs when a doctor orders tests or procedures not based on need but concern over liability, explained Dr. Alan Woodward, former president of the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) and vice chairman of its committee on professional liability.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Health Care
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