TORT REFORM FACT V. FICTION (PART 3)
FICTION: Medical malpractice litigation is forcing doctors out of practice.
FACT: There are currently 307 physicians per 100,000 people in the United States. Since 1990, the number of physicians has increased 40 percent while the U.S. populations seen an increase of 18 percent. The number of doctors licensed in the United States grows each year, and is far outpacing population growth.
FICTION: Medical malpractice is driving physicians out of states without damage caps.
FACT: The number of physicians in every state has increased, and there are actually more doctors in states without damage caps. In the vast majority of states, the increase in physicians has either matched or outpaced population growth. No data has been provided to support the theory that capping non-economic damages helps states attract or retain physicians.
FICTION: Damage caps lower doctors’ medical malpractice insurance rates.
FACT: If damages are capped, insurance companies pay out less money for awards, but they will no pass those savings to doctors in the form of lower premiums. As pointed out on www.tortreformtruth.com the strongest example of this is in Texas. Texas passed a restrictive damages cap in 2003. Despite the enactment of the damages cap GE Medical Protective told the Texas Insurance Commissioner that caps had a negligible impact on rates while announcing a 19 percent increase in doctors’ premiums.
GE Medical Protective acknowledged that “non-economic damages are a small percentage of losses paid. Capping non-economic damages will show loss savings of 1.0 percent.” The president of the American Insurance Association has said that “we have not promised price reductions with tort reform.”