Medical liability

Newshour with Jim Lehrer
Wednesday, January 5, 2005

GWEN IFILL: Now, two views on the reasons behind soaring medical costs. Dr. Robert Hamilton, the past president of the Madison County Medical Society, attended the president's speech today. He retired three years ago, in part, he says, because of rising malpractice premiums.
And Joanne Doroshow is the executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, a consumer advocacy group. They oppose President Bush's plan.

GWEN IFILL: Ms. Doroshow, if as you have argued, this is actually a phony crisis, then how is it that in Madison County and St. Clair County where Dr. Hamilton practiced, that the president said I think today that there were 160 physicians who left the practice in the last, or moved away in the last year or so, in order to avoid these kinds of premiums?
JOANNE DOROSHOW: Well, we're not saying that there is no crisis. The crisis is with the insurance companies, the insurance rates that they're charging doctors, the excessive rates. It just so happens that Illinois has the weakest insurance regulation of any state in the country.
The only way you're going to solve that problem, bring down rates for all doctors, including the specialists, is to get control over the insurance industry through certain reforms that other states like California have enacted. Caps on damages don't work; they don't help doctors in terms of bringing down their insurance rates.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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