[ Tuesday, October 07, 2003 ]


Proposition 12 = 12% decrease in malpractice premiums?

As I previously discussed, Proposition 12, the Texas constitutional amendment effectively ratifying the legislature’s move to limit non-economic damages to $250,000 per doctor per case, really was a doctors-versus-lawyers deal. The doctors claimed that because of runaway juries and greedy trial lawyers, they needed the cap on non-economic damages to keep their malpractice insurance premiums down. In fact, one of the commercials played by the Prop 12 proponents featured a female physician talking about how, even though she has never been sued, she left the practice of medicine because she couldn’t afford to pay malpractice premiums and have her practice still be worth pursuing. Anti-12 partisans said that there was no link between high premiums and large pain and suffering claims, and that the reason premiums are so high is because (i) doctors won’t police themselves and get rid of bad doctors, and (ii) greedy insurance companies.

I’ve noted that malpractice insurance companies are leaving the state, not coming to the state. If it is such easy money being a malpractice insurer, how come there are so few (and getting fewer).

Well, Modern Healthcare reported in the September 22 issue that TMLT, the largest (I think; as a nonprofit doctor-owned trust set up by the state legislature during the 1979 med mal crisis, they underwrite about one-third of all physicians in Texas) med mal carrier in Texas, has announced an across-the-board 12% decrease in premiums. Every physician in every specialty will get a 12% reduction in their premiums. The head of TMLT thinks this is just the start, and that premiums will go down even further.

I love the last line of the Modern Healthcare article: “Consumer advocates say little evidence exists to link caps to reduced premiums.

Hello! McFly! What more evidence do you want than caps being instituted and IMMEDIATE response from an insurance company reducing premiums?

Jeff [10:27 AM]

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