Tort reform: "It does not get any clearer"

The numbers speak for themselves:

Rates have fallen an average of 21.3 percent, and up to 41 percent at one insurance company, says former state Rep. Joe Nixon, a Houston trial lawyer who helped sponsor passage of Proposition 12. According to figures given to Nixon by the state’s largest insurer, Texas Medical Liability Trust:
* An internal medicine doctor in Houston paid $18,507 for malpractice insurance in 2003 but only $13,272 in 2007, or $10,403 with a 20 percent renewal dividend.
* An obstetrician paid $56,564 in 2003 but only $41,575 in 2007, or $32,585 at the renewal rate.
* A neurosurgeon paid $103,558 in 2003 but only $76,117 in 2007, or the renewal rate of $59,659.

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  • Anonymous

    So when states that don’t have tort reform get similar reduction, what does that mean?

  • Anonymous

    Did the amount of malpractice that they were involved in lessen during that time period?

  • Matthew

    Anon 1,

    I’m surprised you didn’t link to the study showing a 41% reduction in rates in a comparable state without comparable reforms.

    On second thought, I’m not surprised at all.

  • Matthew

    Yes, Kevin, to anyone not personally profiting from suing health care providers for every cent they can regardless of merit, the numbers do indeed speak for themseleves.

  • Anonymous

    Matthew, do you know who “personally profits” from suing health care providers? Let’s think. There’s the injured person’s health insurer, who gets reimbursed. There’s the injured person’s past and future medical providers, who have been working on cleaning up the mistakes made by one provider. There are the taxpayers, who will profit by this person not having to file bankruptcy and becoming eligible for public benefits.

    You’re right, the numbers do speak for themselves.

    As for people profiting on meritless cases, that simply reflects your ignorance of the cost of filing meritless claims. Considering you’ve never seen ANY case tried, never reviewed the records from a med mal case, or have any concept of the cost of doing so and the risk/reward component, your ignorance is not surprising.

  • Anonymous

    Matthew,

    Why would one need to link to a study? There is no study in the original claim, just a press release.

    Unsurprisingly, the insurers don’t mention that their rates go down in non “reform” states, but if you review their annual reports, you can find lots of good info.

    Here’s some good stuff about TN:

    http://www.dayontorts.com/tort-reform-svmic-lowers-rates.html

    http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/stories/2007/06/04/story1.html?b=1180929600%5E1471121

    That’s just two states, but surely you can use google. Although I know researching before you reach conclusions isn’t really your thing.

  • Anonymous

    My med mal has gone up 8-10% every year for the past 10 years or so. I’m in California which has MICRA. Before anyone asks I’ve been dropped from every suit naming me to date.

  • Matthew

    Aside from the fact that one story covers only one doctor-run insurance company, the decrease is a factor of 10 smaller, the states aren’t of comparable size, and the stories you cite don’t go into the history of the slight ups and downs the rates always go through, they’re exactly comparable!

    C’mon chief, you’re a lawyer, you can do a lot better than that.

    I’m sure your arrogance serves you well in court some cases, but when it comes to discussing issues out of court, it only serves to make you less credible. It’s taking you a long time to figure that out, but I’m here to help.

  • Anonymous

    Matthew,

    Is a guy who just bought into an unsourced press release lecturing others on the sources of their info?

    You make me chuckle.

    I also heard that Texas’ two year drought just ended – I think that may have lowered insurance rates too! Not the improving bond market, or stock market since 2003. Must have been the drought relief!

  • Matthew

    Back to reading comprehension 101 for you! Once again.

    I’m not questioning the accuracy of your source, I’m saying that the articles you cite aren’t comparable in any way to the statistics you were trying to use them to criticize.

    Please show me an article or study showing a comparable rate decline in a state that has not enacted similar tort reform measures. The two you cited, as I showed before, are almost nothing like the article in question. The fact that you’ve failed to do so to this point leads me to believe that you can’t, but by all means, prove me wrong.

    Please provide a viable alternative explanation. Doctors, insurers and outside journalists concur that you’re incorrect, so exactly who (aside from fellow lawyers) is providing the explanation that I’m sure you’re waiting for the right time to put forward? If it’s (as you seem to imply) the bond market or stock market, why hasn’t there been a 20-40% decrease in rates during previous boom years? Do tell! I need a good laugh, and I can usually count on you for it. Let’s hear it.

    But the best part of your post is that you called the press release unsourced; I’ve always had my doubts that you actually read blog posts or articles before responding, but now we have hard proof! Try reading all the way to the bottom, and maybe even following the links. You’ll learn some things.

    Best of luck, and I hope you’re a hell of a lot more thorough for your clients.

  • Anonymous

    Matthew, you cited no stats. You cited a press release. It’s pretty clear you have literally no clue.

    And one of those claims even proves the “lies, damn lies, statistics” line. Of course med mal claims dropped, because for the thousandth time, many, many more were filed to beat the deadline of the arbitrary cap than would have been filed otherwise.

    Think about it. It’s not difficult. It may cause you to have to reexamine your opinions, and I know that’s frightening, but just try.

    As for previous markets, there was a decrease. Go back and look at the last “crisis” in the late 80s, and the subsequent drop in rates, and the numerous new companies that came in during the 90s. Do you wonder why rates didn’t even keep up with medical inflation during that time?

    I realize you understand little of how insurance works, but did it ever occur to you that the insurers had overstated their projected losses? And that’s why they are disgorging all these funds? Insurance is a ridiculously profitable industry – you can verify this online at any financial news site.

    At this point, all I can figure is you work for an insurer, and that’s how you convince yourself to believe in this stuff. That’s fine. Whatever it takes to let you sleep at night.

  • Anonymous

    Oh please! Stick your head back in the sand before you catch a cold.

  • Matthew

    I’ll respond as soon as you actually address one of the arguments I made.

    Unsurprisingly, I’m still waiting.

  • Anonymous

    Matthew, I already refuted your arguments, particularly the silly “claims dropped immediately after reform was enacted” one.

    What’s even more unsurprising is that during the “crisis” years, claims in Texas didn’t change that much:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=770844

    You better not read that though, Matthew. Wouldn’t want to expand your meager knowledge of how insurance works.

  • Matthew

    Nice!

    The link doesn’t work, chief, there’s no paper there. I guess that explains your lack of insight! I wouldnt’ rely on that, although reading nothing would probably give you more meaningful talking points.

    Judging from the little bit you said, it sounds as though you’re only looking at the number of claims to judge what is or isn’t a crisis. Typical, but silly. Do you have anything that factors in other pieces of the puzzle?

    You didn’t refute the fact that you were wrong about the article being unsourced, and you didn’t refute any of the factors I cited that made our two sets of examples entirely uncomparable. You made an effort to change the subject, but I’m not interested in doing that.

    I appreciate your efforts, it’s entertaining and comical, but please, if you can’t even provide a valid link or stay on topic, much less refute the points that disprove your rhetoric, perhaps it’s best to just close the thread. I’ve done all I can to help you.

  • Anonymous

    You’ll have to cut and paste, then. Try to think outside the box now and again. Sometimes, learning the facts before forming an opinion is a good thing.

    You didn’t cite any factors. You seem to confuse your opinions with facts, which may be why you struggle. Or maybe you’re just an insurance lobbyist, in which case your willful ignorance is required.

    At the end of the day, though, insurance rates have gone down and carriers have entered into new markets nationwide, “reform” or no reform. Quite simply, that kills your claims. What’s even more comical about your claims is that this is the third “crisis” in the last 30 years, and every time it’s the same story. But again, why bother you with the facts, eh?