Today's New York Times disclosed the results of a report to be released by the journal of Health Affairs later this week, which states that doctor's fees for services are higher in the United States then in most other countries. The Times concludes that "this is a major factor in the nation's higher overall cost of health care . . ." The article sited that primary care docs and orthopedic surgeons earned far more than their counterparts in other places in the world. For example, orthopedic surgeons make on average $442,450 per year, which is more than double what similar surgeons make in other countries. Over the last several years doctors, hospitals, the insurance industry as well as the medical society have sought to place blame on lawyers and the legal system as the cause for driving-up medical expenses. The Congressional Budget Office has denied any such connection and has issued several reports which show the cold hard numbers. Those numbers show that only 2% of health cost is attributable to legal costs. A recent report issued by the Administrator of Courts for Pennsylvania states that filings for medical malpractice lawsuits are down by over 45% across the state. The myth that fear of lawsuits results in defensive medicine, which also drives-up the cost of medicine, has also been debunked by the Budget Office who stated that they could find "no evidence" to support this claim. Here's one more fact. Even though law suits against doctors have dramatically decreased over the last 9 years, medical liability insurance companies have raised the premiums which doctors are charged by a considerable amount. I am not a statistician, but it seems this is a bit like the old proverb of the "pot calling the kettle black". How can the same industry which tries to place blame on the legal system for bringing Armageddon to the health care industry be one of its primary culprits? I say, "physician heal thyself". Dennis F Feeley.