George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

Poll Shows Flor⁠i⁠da Vo⁠t⁠ers Bel⁠i⁠eve Defens⁠i⁠ve Med⁠i⁠c⁠i⁠ne Has Nega⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ve Impac⁠t⁠ on Heal⁠t⁠hcare

By: The James Madison Institute / 2011

September 15, 2011
Tanja Clendinen – – 850.386.3131.Poll Shows Florida Voters Believe Defensive Medicine Has Negative Impact on Healthcare
Two-Thirds Believe Doctors Order Unnecessary Tests to Avoid Being SuedTALLAHASSEE  –  The James Madison Institute today released polling data in partnership with Patients for Fair Compensation showing 66% to 68% of registered voters in Florida believe that doctors often order unnecessary tests just to keep from being sued and that an overwhelming 85% to 91% of those who agree doctors order these unnecessary tests also believe that this practice has a negative impact on healthcare.“The voters of Florida are rightly concerned about the rising costs of healthcare,” said Dr. Robert McClure, President of The James Madison Institute. “The practice of defensive medicine – doctors ordering unnecessary tests to keep from being sued – is a hidden driver to those costs, with some experts estimating defensive medicine to be 26 percent of overall healthcare spending. We must come up with an innovative policy approach that aligns the interests of patients and their physicians to stop the practice of defensive medicine and optimize quality health care.”The polling, conducted in May and August by THG Strategic Research, is based on responses from a total of 1327 randomly selected registered voters in Florida and Georgia with a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. Polling conclusions demonstrate:

66% (August) to 68% (May) of registered voters in Florida agree that doctors order unnecessary tests to keep from getting sued.
Of those who agree doctors order unnecessary tests 85% (August) to 91% (May) of the respondents believe that these tests have a negative impact on healthcare.
81% of all respondents asked believe that medical malpractice lawsuits contribute to high healthcare costs.
Six in ten of all respondents asked (62%) believe doctors are under attack from frivolous lawsuits.

 “Our current system promotes defensive medicine and at the same time denies compensation to deserving patients,” said Richard L. Jackson, Chairman of Patients for Fair Compensation. “It’s time to put in place a comprehensive public policy that focuses on quality and safety of patient care.  Lower costs, greater access and quality care must all be central tenets of future proposals for our healthcare systems,” concluded Jackson.Full polling results available on-line at: or
The James Madison Institute is a nonpartisan, public policy research organization based in Florida.