Doctor-backed bill called no solution to insurance costs

Cleveland Plain Dealer
Saturday, October 12, 2002


Changing Ohio's rules for suing doctors will not lead to lower medical malpractice insurance premiums, the head of a consumer group told the City Club of Cleveland yesterday.

But doctors attending Joanne Doroshow's luncheon address said she was ignoring evidence that it would.

Doroshow is executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy, a New York City-based group opposed to "tort reform" - laws that often include limits on the money injured patients can collect at trial. A doctor-backed tort reform bill is awaiting action in the Ohio Senate. Doctors also are working to elect two Republican Supreme Court candidates they believe would uphold the limits.

The Supreme Court struck down a similar law in 1999.

Last month, tort reform advocates made their case at the City Club. They argued that stacks of baseless lawsuits and sky-high jury awards were the reasons insurance companies have doubled or tripled the price of malpractice insurance for some doctors in the past two years.

"We're sympathetic with doctors being price-gouged," Doroshow said yesterday. But she said the situation is "a self-inflicted insurance crisis that is being driven by the insurance industry itself" to cover losses due to bad management and the economic downturn. She said two earlier insurance crises, in the 1970s and 1980s, were no different.

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D. .

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