25 August 2009

Med Mal Costs Still Don't Drive Health Care Costs

• Medical malpractice premiums, inflation-adjusted, are nearly the lowest they have been in 30 years.

• Medical malpractice claims, inflation-adjusted, are dropping significantly, down 45 percent since 2000.

• Medical malpractice premiums are less than one-half of one percent of the country’s overall health care costs; medical malpractice claims are a mere one-fifth of one percent of health care costs. In over 30 years, premiums and claims have never been greater than 1% of our nation’s health care costs.

• Medical malpractice insurer profits are higher than the rest of the property casualty industry, which has been remarkably profitable over the last five years.

• The periodic premium spikes that doctors experience, as they did from 2002 until 2005, are not related to claims but to the economic cycle of insurers and to drops in investment income.

• Many states that have resisted enacting severe restrictions on injured patients’ legal rights experienced rate changes (i.e., premium increases or decreases for doctors) similar to those in states that enacted severe restrictions on patients’ rights, i.e., there is no correlation between "tort reform" and insurance rates for doctors.

Via this diary.

Health care costs are out of control, consistently rising faster than inflation. But, the medical malpractice system has nothing to do with it.

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