Hogan's Alley

Monday, July 02, 2007

Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates To Rise 14%

The Insurance Department of New York' s Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer has approved a 14% increase in the annual insurance rates for physicians. I repeat, a 14% increase.

According to the Times:

Dr. Robert Goldberg, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, said in a statement that the increase would “severely worsen the health care access crisis that has already resulted in shortages in several specialties all across New York State.”

The society said the increase would mean that a neurosurgeon in Long Island would now have to pay $309,311 for one year’s coverage, while an ob-gyn specialist in Brooklyn or Queens would have to pay $173,061.

Donna M. Williams, executive director of the New York district of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said “the constant increase in premiums is forcing obstetricians across the state to give up the practice of obstetrics and simply do the practice of gynecology only.”

According to the State Insurance Superintendent, “We have inherited the worst of both worlds — physicians who cannot afford to practice medicine and insurers whose financial condition is rapidly eroding. The cause is high medical liability costs, and this administration is going to address it.”

Jesus, I hope so. How can doctors possibly earn a decent income if such an enormous portion of their funds must go to the insurance companies? Why continue? And the insurance companies claim to be going broke even with these high premiums.

The Spitzer administration has formed a task force to attempt to solve the problem. Do you think it might be possible that they will take a look at the vultures called personal injury lawyers who are picking at this corpse clean? How about the legal system that allows anyone to file a suit for any reason and expect the likelihood of a juicy settlement? Not likely.

Oh, excuse me, I have just been informed by a knowledgeable advocate for the personal injury bar that the current crisis is totally caused by an shocking increase in the incompetence of doctors and the fortuitous quest of noble attorneys who seek only to provide minimal recompense to hideously injured patients and prevent, through financial punishment, the future crimes of doctors who chronically fail to follow generally accepted medical practice.

Never mind.

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