Medical Malpractice in Maryland, The District of Columbia
This fascinating study focuses not only on how the insurance industry creates its own crises but also on the fact that the claims and verdicts of victims truly have nothing to do with it. Among the findings of Americans for Insurance Reform are that malpractice insurance premiums adjusted for inflation are at an all-time low, that malpractice claims are down 45% since 2000 and that premium increases for doctors are wholly unrelated to claims, lawsuits or verdicts.
Many states have changed their laws to limit the recoveries of victims of malpractice. The study shows that these changes of law, while punishing victims of medical negligence or incompetence have no effect on the malpractice insurance premiums of doctors and hospitals.
The "crises" are the result of insurance industry investment practices. The malpractice insurers make higher profits than other casualty insurers and when their profits are down they have the option of blaming it on greedy plaintiffs. The call goes out for "tort reform" and the doctors flock to the state legislature. One astonishing thing is the extent to which the doctors have been taken in by their own insurers.
The study also clearly illustrates how small a portion of health care costs are represented by monies paid to malpractice victims combined with insurance premiums paid by doctors. That total has never been more than one percent of total health care costs in the last thirty years, despite repeated reports of "malpractice crises".