Newspapers Examine Medical Malpractice Reform Efforts

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Medical Malpractice

Several newspapers reported on recent medical malpracticedevelopments in several states. Summaries of the articles appear below.

  • Connecticut:Physicians in Connecticut might pay lower premiums for malpracticeinsurance in 2008 because some insurers took action to reduce premiumsand another wants to enter the market, the Hartford Courant reports. Connecticut Medical Insurance Companyon Wednesday said that its base rates are not changing for 2008 andthat it will increase credits given to physicians who have not hadclaims filed against them for at least five years, meaning theirpremiums might be reduced. Medical Protective's 24% rate cut was approved by state regulators and took effect Aug. 1. ProMutual Group is not planning any rate hikes in the state this year. Meanwhile, Professional Liability Insurance Company of America-- which sells malpractice insurance in Missouri, Illinois and Texas --has expressed interest in expanding into Connecticut, which couldincrease competition, according to the Courant (Levick, Hartford Courant, 9/13).
  • Maryland: The Maryland Insurance Administration on Thursday blocked a plan by the state's largest malpractice insurer, Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland,to pay a nearly $69 million dividend, saying it will hold a hearing todetermine how much money should go to the state and how much topolicyholders, the Baltimore Sunreports. Maryland Insurance Commissioner Ralph Tyler on Thursday saidthat the state paid almost $80 million to subsidize the company'spremiums since a four-year program was enacted less than three yearsago to address increasing premium rates. He said the dividend callsinto question whether the program was necessary. The hearing isscheduled for Oct. 5 (Smith Hopkins, Baltimore Sun, 9/14).
  • Mississippi: Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi,the state's largest malpractice insurer, on Sept. 5 decided to cutpremiums by 15.5% in 2008, bringing the company's rates down 45% since2004, the Jackson Clarion-Ledgerreports. Gov. Haley Barbour (R), whose 2003 campaign had tort reform asa focus, announced the reduction on Wednesday, saying, "It's made adifference. Doctors are staying in the state. Doctors are going back todelivering babies. Doctors are no longer afraid to do emergencysurgery." Mississippi Association of Justice President Joey Diaz saidthat Barbour is taking credit for 2002 tort reform work by former Gov.Ronnie Musgrove (D). However, Randy Easterling, chair of the Mississippi State Medical Association, said Barbour's plan has had a larger effect on the rates (Hipp, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 9/13).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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