Insurance companies' profits fall; 'Tort reform' a solution in need of a problem

Charleston Gazette
Monday, October 22, 2001

By Gary Zuckett, Director of Consumer Affairs, Citizen Action Group

Our medical liability insurance "crisis" in West Virginia is coming to a head in a special session of the Legislature called by Gov. Bob Wise.

Our governor has taken firm steps to deal with this situation without being bullied by the insurance industry's threats to pull out of West Virginia if medical "tort reform" isn't passed.

The first part of our governor's proposal cuts to the heart of the matter: providing affordable coverage so doctors can do their job. This is the right prescription for this malady. Part two, a call for a medical review board, is redundant because there is already a pretrial judicial review process available to doctors.

A recent release from the Center for Justice and Democracy supports the governor's approach of a state insurance pool and debunks myths surrounding medical "tort reform."

The insurance industry would have us believe their fiscal problems are the fault of courtrooms full of juries doling out unreasonable awards to injured patients. The numbers from CJ&D dispute this theory.

The numbers show that insurance companies are paying victims of medical negligence on average only $42,607.03. This is only slightly more than the average payout was a decade earlier - $39,093.31.

Moreover, medical malpractice costs, as a percentage of national health-care expenditures, are at an all-time low - 0.55 percent.

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

Join Our Fight!

The Center for Justice & Democracy is the only national consumer organization in the country exclusively dedicated to protecting our civil justice system. If you'd like more information, please contact us.

Connect with us