Friday, June 25, 2004

AMA beating the med-mal crisis drum loudly.

N.Y. Times op-editorialist Bob Herbert has followed up on last Monday's column with another swipe at those who claim that soaring med mal insurance premiums are the result of massive incrases in med mal payouts. This time, though, it's the AMA who gets rapped for feeding the frenzy. Claiming that 20 states are now in a med-mal insurance crisis (up from 12 in 2002), the AMA has conveniently mapped out the whole country for all to see which states are in crisis, which ones are showing problem signs, and which states are "currently okay" (apparently only 6 states are in this last category). An interactive version of the map, with anecdotes, a smattering of statistics, and a description of the current state of the health-care liability laws, can be found here.

In today's column, Herbert claims that the evidence has been misstated or skewed by the AMA, at least as respects Missouri, Florida, and New Jersey. I'd add Texas to the list of so-called crisis states where the evidence seems to point to the opposite conclusion. After the surge of filings to beat the September 1, 2003, effective date of our med-mal reform statute, new filings seem to have virtually dried up. There's been little or no reduction in premiums in tort-reformed states, though, and I am betting (with Bob Herbert) that the docs have been sold a bill of goods about the causes (and cures) for their insurance-premium crisis. For more information, and a slightly more balanced view, check out the GAO report on the alleged med-mal crisis, discussed here last August 1.
posted by tommayo, 11:42 AM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter