Malpractice crisis coming to light

North Carolina’s Asheboro Courier Tribune
Sunday, March 23, 2003

ASHEBORO - The medical malpractice "crisis" has come to the attention of the North Carolina General Assembly.

Randolph Country’s State Sen. Jerry Tillman said lawmakers are feeling great pressure to do something about skyrocketing medical costs.

Asheboro-based Dr. Robert Brown said something has to be done to control escalating malpractice insurance premiums or doctors are going to start leaving the state.

Local attorney Bob Crumley said both Tillman and Brown have legitimate points but proposed legislation would do little more than unfairly restrict victims' rights.


He said there is no evidence that caps make any significant impact on escalating medical costs. He pointed to a study by the Center for Justice & Democracy.

"Despite what tort reform proponents promised lawmakers, tort law limits enacted since the liability insurance crisis of the mid-1980s have not lowered insurance rates in the ensuing years. States with little or no tort law restrictions have experienced the same level of insurance rates as those states that enacted severe restrictions on victims' rights," according to study authors J. Robert Hunter and Joanne Doroshow.


"Just as the liability insurance crisis was ultimately found to be driven by the insurance underwriting cycle and not a tort law cost explosion as many insurance companies had claimed, the remedy pushed by the insurance companies failed. Laws that restrict the rights of injured consumers to go to court do not produce lower insurance costs or rates and insurance companies that claim they do are severely misleading this country's lawmakers."
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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