Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Tort Reform or Health Insurance Reform?

Wisconsin business groups apparently want health insurance reform too since Wisconsin insurers keep raising premiums. See Business groups push health reform plan. Though I generally prefer a "free market", since insurance companies are so high on "tort reform" and "caps on damages" perhaps we should consider:

~ a moratorium on building or adding on hospitals;
~ limiting healthcare provider charges; or
~ capping insurance company profits.

At least this Wisconsin group did not try to assert the fictious cause-effect relationship between medical expenses and medical malpractice. Wisconsin medical malpractice insurance rates are some of the lowest in the U.S. yet it has very high health insurance costs as noted by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. Wisconsin doctors, per a 2003 study by the American Medical Society, have the 6th lowest medical malpractice insurance premiums in the U.S.A. See Wisconsin's Business Climate from Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce. Thus, despite claims of "tort reformers" medical malpractice has nothing to do with spiraling health care costs. This fact was also proven in the Des Moines Register article Don't blame malpractice suits: Reforming health care takes a lot more than caps on liability awards showing what has always been known by Wisconsin personal injury attorneys.

The article explains how it is false to claim rising medical expenses and insurance have a relationship to such personal injury cases. The article shows:
~ 1998-2001 the number of medical malpractice claims dropped
~ 1988-1998 U.S. health care costs were UP 74.4% but medical malpractice insurance increased only 5.7%
~ Medical malpractice insurance premiums for doctors were 8.8% of their salaries of $164,300 in 1990 and were DOWN by 1997 to just 7.1% of doctors' salaries of $199,600

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney