Well, what to believe. A couple of days ago an analysis of Texas Medmal verdicts was released, finding basically that Texas had no crisis of skyrocketing Medmal verdicts. That this goes against the conventional wisdom in my field is a given. Symtym has quotes from several of the Usual Suspects. Reflecting my skepticism with an eloquence I lack, Ted Frank at PointofLaw has questions for the authors, and points out some fairly basic flaws in the paper.
Then, comes this news:
Citing the 2003 liability reforms and passage of Proposition 12, two more professional liability insurers announced last month they plan to cut their rates.
Physicians who hold policies written by The Doctors Co. should see an average 14-percent drop in premiums. The company has asked the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to approve its plan to give rate reductions of up to 30 percent to most of its 1,100 customers in Texas. The change would be for new policyholders effective April 1 and for renewing policyholders effective June 1.
American Physicians Insurance Exchange said it will cut rates for about 2,200 Texas physicians by an average of 5 percent.
The cuts are the latest reductions announced by insurers in the wake of the 2003 reforms. The Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) has reduced its rates by 17 percent. TMLT President Tom Cotten called the reduction “indicative of the triumph of medical liability reform in Texas.”
OK, I’ll give you that 5-15% cuts aren’t terribly dramatic, and the days of $2000 coverage are gone forever. However, I know which of these I believe. If insurers are voluntarily lowering rates after a historic run-up, that tells me that medmal reform works to lower rates.
The real solution to this situation is for people to realize no-one is perfect and that accidents happen. I’m for actual victims of real malpractice being appropriately compensated. I’m against the current adversarial/lottery system, and I’m against medmal being used as disability insurance by patients with bad outcomes.