President Obama is making health care reform in this country his top priority. As part of his package, Obama has stated that he is willing to consider malpractice liability reforms if these reforms would assist physicians in their practice of medicine. Many Americans believe that the high cost of medical care in this country is linked to the nature and extent of medical malpractice lawsuits and the resulting increases in malpractice insurance. A new study, published on July 22, 2009, shows this could not be further from the truth.
The study, entitled “True Risk: Medical Liability, Malpractice Insurance and Health Care” found that the premiums that physicians pay for malpractice are at their lowest rates in over 30 years. Malpractice claims are down 45% since 2000, and malpractice claims and premiums paid in the past 30 years have never been more than 1% of this country’s health care costs. Medical malpractice insurance company profits are higher than in any other area of the insurance industry.
Malpractice insurers want you to believe that unless dramatic tort reform is enacted, to include “caps ” on the amount of damages that can be recovered in a lawsuit, that the high cost of insuring doctors in this country will lead to more and more physicians leaving the practice of medicine or moving to areas of the country which have enacted these caps. The facts do not bear this out. In fact, the study showed that in states without a cap on damages, malpractice premiums have actually dropped more than in states which have enacted caps and limitations on damages awards. By examining the records of every major insurer in this country, the study concluded that the amount a physician pays for malpractice insurance is directly related to how that insurance company handles its investment income and underwriting, not to claims against a policy. “Tort Reform” in this country will only limit a patient’s ability to be fairly and justly compensated when a health care provider negligently causes harm.
The attorneys at Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC are committed to obtaining justice for victims of malpractice and will fight all attempts by organizations to mislead the public into believing that there is a “malpractice crisis” in this state. The crisis is the failure of medical providers to afford proper treatment to patients and not the cost that comes with doing so.