According to a recent study concerning medical liability reform conducted by the Americans for Insurance Reform (AIR), a coalition of nearly 100 consumer and public interest groups around the country, there is no correlation between medical malpractice reform and decreases in insurance rates for doctors. The study concludes that there is “absolutely no reason to further limit the liability of doctors and hospitals, who already benefit from more liability protection for their negligence than any profession in the country.” The authors state that further tort reform will have “almost no impact on overall health care expenditure — except that the costs of medical error and hospital-induced injury would remain.” This study comes as no surprise to top medical negligence lawyers, who have been fighting for years to protect the rights of those individuals and families devastated by serious medical errors.
The study, which was published on July 22, 2009 involves an extensive review of the medical malpractice insurance industry in the United States over the past several years, even before the most recent perceived “medical malpractice crisis.” The study analyzed national and state insurance premiums, claims and profit figures of the medical malpractice industry and found the following:
- Medical malpractice insurance premiums are nearly the lowest they have been in 30 years, after adjusting for inflation;
- Medical negligence claims have decreased 45 percent since 2000;
- Medical malpractice insurance premiums are less than on-half of one percent of the country’s health care costs, and medical negligence claims are one-fifth of one percent of health care costs;
- Medical malpractice insurance profits are at record highs;
- The insurance premium spike that doctors experienced from 2002 to 2005 was related to the economic cycle of insurance companies and poor investments, rather than from medical malpractice claims;
- Those states that have passed “tort reform” have not seen more favorable insurance rate changes than those states that have resisted medical liability reform.
This study debunks the insurance lobby’s argument that medical tort reform will result in lower insurance premiums for doctors, and lower health care costs for the nation. The only one that benefits from medical liability reform is the insurance companies. Period. And the insurance executives pad their pocketbook at the expense of those individuals and family members who can least afford have their rights taken away.
Our personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys will continue to fight for victims of medical error. Thousands of people are permanently injured or killed each year by medical negligence. They deserve to have their voices heard. To speak with one of our Chicago injury attorneys, call Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500 for a free consultation.