The Hemorrhaging Medical Malpractice System Essay

1584 words - 6 pages

A service used to protect individuals harmed by the unforgivable actions of a doctor has turned into a moneymaking scheme. Medical malpractice has been in the United States since 1794 and has since become a multibillion-dollar industry. Since the start of malpractice insurance, the cost of premiums that the companies charge has increased, causing the cost of medical procedures to subsequently increase. By capping monetary compensation for different injuries, this multibillion-dollar industry will run smoother and allow doctors to provide cheaper health services. Medical malpractice is an essential check in the medical field, but currently is doing more harm than good. Limiting medical malpractice payouts will lower the costs of premiums while keeping the vital program intact.
Capping medical malpractice seems counterintuitive because the program is in place to compensate victims of negligence, but capping monetary damages are a necessity to reduce the cost of health care. Medical malpractice torts are a way for victims of a doctor’s negligence to collect damages from the doctors. This system is necessary to the success of the medical field, but the payouts have become too high. In several states, there have been caps placed on malpractice payouts and impressive results have come into public view: “Twenty-eight states have laws that limit payments in malpractice cases, and several studies indicate that these laws reduce the frequency and severity of malpractice claims and lower premiums” (Hellinger). These twenty-eight states have seen lower insurance rates because doctors are not paying as much money in medical malpractice insurance rates as they had been. In California there is a cap of $250,000 on noneconomic damages, which has been in place for forty years. The goal of these caps is to deter nuisance claims and to improve patient safety because doctors want to protect themselves from lawsuits. In California, the medical malpractice cap has stabilized the cost of health insurance. These caps do affect the amount of money that a person can collect for lost wages, potential wages, or other economic damages (CMA). By placing noneconomic caps on medical malpractice, insurance rates will be lowered because doctors have to pay less towards their malpractice insurance.
Insurance companies saw an opportunity to make money on medical malpractice and started to offer insurance to doctors, but premiums for this service have reached a level where the health of patients is being put at risk. Medical malpractice insurance is a way for doctors to protect themselves from lawsuits. The cost of medical malpractice insurance has risen at an average rate of 8%, which is more than the rate of inflation (CBO 4). If the rate of increase of premiums is higher than the rate of inflation, there is a problem. The rate of change in premiums needs to be lower than the rate of inflation to keep the price of health care close to the level it was in the previous year....

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