For years, some have pointed to large medical malpractice verdicts and settlements as the cause of rising health care costs.  Efforts at enacting tort reform have often been premised on the idea that medical malpractice payouts are over-burdening the U.S. health care system.  According to a new study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, however, this is not true.  The Johns Hopkins researchers, led by Marty Makary, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery and health policy, reviewed medical malpractice payouts over $1 million nationwide from 2004 to 2010.  They found that, during this period, those medical malpractice payments actually accounted for less than 1% of national medical expenditures in the United States.