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Malpractice Insurance: What Price Can Be Put On Safety?

825 words - 3 pages

Malpractice Insurance: What Price Can Be Put on Safety?Recently, thousands of doctors of all trades rallied in the streets against malpractice rates (Appleby). The rising insurance costs are forcing doctors to the streets and out of business. These costs can be rooted back to greedy insurance companies and the economy. Malpractice insurance is extremely overpriced and is forcing physicians out of work, everywhere.Hundreds of doctors closed their offices in Florida in order to attend a malpractice seminar and surgeons in West Virginia and Las Vegas took leave and caused hospitals to close (Appleby). Many specialists and some doctors don't see many benefits of practicing without malpractice insurance and are quitting or are moving to states with "tort reform1", leaving the patients stranded (Maister 2). The problem is so severe that the governor of Nevada will convene a special session on malpractice insurance to search for a solution (1). As you can see, malpractice insurance, as well as all insurance rates, is a very pressing issue (CJ&D 7).1* Tort reform is the action of changing the law so that patients suing in insurance cases can only win so much money.Many doctors are leaving their offices closed to the minorly ill (Appleby), and hospitals are taking a hit from a wave of customers (Appleby). Mainly greedy insurance companies cause this catastrophe. Insurance premiums have been raised over 35% this year alone (Appleby). Georgia has reported a premium hike of up to 50% (Maister 1)! This crisis is bad news. Georgia, as well as Florida, Nevada, New York, and New Jersey are on a list of 11 crisis states named by the government (1). Doctor's salaries are getting wiped away. Many doctors have to pay more than $150,000 annually (Appleby).Why is this happening? Medical malpractice makes up for only a tiny fraction of total health care costs (CJ&D 14). Juries are not much help in finding the solution either. The average jury payout is around $30,000, which is quite absurd to the insurance price of $150,000 (CJ&D 12). In most cases, juries award nothing as well! Only 23% of plaintiffs actually win (12). The answer is simple. The economy. During years of high interest rates and excellent insurer profits, premiums are lowered (7). But when the economy is lowered, the companies raise prices. The insurance companies are under little or no surveillance by the government and are able to price fix (4). For example, during the 1990's, the government focused on inflation and therefore the...

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