Medical Malpractice Crisis: Are Medical Malpractice Attorneys Causing Insurance Rates to Spike?

Across the country, the national debate over how to solve the medical malpractice crisis and who is to blame has been heating up. The insurance industry is pointing fingers at the civil justice system, namely medical malpractice attorneys,as being responsible for these increases over the last two decades. On the other hand, an argument is being made that the insurance corporations risky financing schemes are causing the spike.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Are Not to Blame

The argument that medical malpractice attorneys are to blame for these spikes in insurance rates seems to be unfounded. Many people claim that there are too many malpractice lawsuits and as a result, they are driving up the cost of insurance premiums; however, with a close examination of the facts this is just not the case. For instance, medical malpractice insurance rates have risen less rapidly than medical inflation. Medical costs have gone up 113% since 1987; meanwhile, the total amount spent on medical malpractice insurance has gone up only 52%. This is less than half the cost of medical inflation. In short, the cost of insuring against medical errors is going down.Additionally, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners claims are down. These facts show that medical malpractice attorneys are not accountable for the crisis.

Insurance Reform is What is Needed

Insurance corporations control the health care system and premium prices in the United States; therefore, it is the insurance companies that are to blame and not medical malpractice attorneys. The under-regulated, powerful, international insurance industry has seized control of America’s health care system and is driving up prices for everyone, everywhere, not just for doctors. In the 1990s, the insurance industry underpriced rates and sold policies at a loss, then as early as 1999 they started telling doctors that rates were overdue for a radical hike. Rates were called “irresponsibly low” and the blame was placed on competition for market share. Now the scapegoats are the victims whose lives have been ruined by medical errors.

Joshua Just, an attorney in New York City, has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer.

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