..bad investment choices, in addition to the underwriting cycle, have led to dwindling profits for insurers, who then try to recoup their losses through over-priced insurance products. Lawyers and consumer groups generally support efforts to reform the insurance industry in order to rein in premiums." (Cohen, 2005)
The work of Miller (2003) entitled: "Liability for Medical Malpractice: Issues and Evidence" states that over the past "...several years" witnessed has been an increase of a considerable nature in both the cost and the impact of "medical malpractice litigation." Miller states specifically that "...between 1994 and 2001, the typical medical malpractice award increased 176% to $1 million. The result has been higher malpractice insurance premiums for health care providers, which in turn has led to higher costs for the health care system as well as reduced access to medical services. In 2001, total premiums for medical malpractice insurance topped $21 billion, more than double the amount ten years earlier." (2003)
It is the belief of Miller (2003) that medical malpractice and liability reform would "...significant benefits, including significant savings on health care spending from a reduction in unnecessary tests and treatments motivated out of fear of litigation. Reform would also encourage systematic reform efforts to identify and reduce medical errors, halt the exodus of doctors from high-litigation states and specialties, and improve access to health care." (Miller, 2003)
The work of Berenson, Kuo and May (2003) entitled: "Medical Malpractice Liability Crisis Meets Markets: Stress in Unexpected Places" states that the "...causes of rapidly rising medical malpractice insurance premiums remain contentious and unsettled, the consequences are rippling through communities, threatening to diminish patients' access to care and increase health care costs, with an uncertain impact on quality, according to findings from the Center for Studying Health System Change's (HSC) 2002-03 site visits to 12 nationally representative communities. The severity of malpractice insurance problems varied across communities, with some physicians changing how and where they care for patients." Berenson, Kuo and May (2003 additionally state that other emerging responses of physicians identified in their study to concerns relating to malpractice insurance included "...referring more patients to emergency departments, safety net hospitals and academic health centers; refusing to provide on-call emergency department coverage; and declining elective referrals from safety net providers.
ANALYSIS and DISCUSSION
While there certainly are instances of medical malpractice that do occur and it is just as certain that the patient who has been on the receiving end of these types of medical services should most definitely have available the option to file a lawsuit against the medical professional who rendered such undesirable service, frivolous lawsuits fill the courtrooms of the United States and it is precisely these which drive insurance costs and premiums higher and ultimately result in higher costs for consumers. Additionally, the hesitation of today's physicians to assist patients with alterative treatments that are effective or to treat some base of patients whatsoever results in less options and less in the way of access to medical care.
For the reasons set out in the examination of the issues of medical malpractice liability it is clear that reform of the present system is desirable from the viewpoint of all stakeholders to include medical services providers and physicians, the patient base of these providers and as well the nation's courtrooms that are presently heavily laden with medical malpractice tort litigation.
Barry J. Nace, Changing medical malpractice liability will not reduce health care costs,
National Law Journal (Oct. 11, 1993).
Cohen, Henry (2005) Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and Fifty-State Survey of Caps on Punitive Damages and Noneconomic Damages 11 Apr 2005. CRS Report for Congress. Online available at http://shelby.senate.gov/legislation/MedicalMalpractice.pdf
White, Michelle J. (1994) the Value of Liability in Medical Malpractice. Health Affairs Journal, Fall 1994. Online available at http://shelby.senate.gov/legislation/MedicalMalpractice.pdf
Medical Malpractice and Liability Research (1993) NIH Guide, Volume 22, Number 44, December 10, 1993 Pa Number: Pa-94-016 Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. Online available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-94-016.html
Miller, Daniel (2003) Liability for Medical Malpractice: Issues and Evidence. Social Science Research Network. Online available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=659102
Limiting Tort Liability for Medical Malpractice (2004) Economic and Budget Issue Brief. 8 Jan…