As many know, a major policy debate concerns state legislation capping damage awards for medical malpractice. Such cap proposals presume a malpractice insurance premium crisis. Conventional wisdom suggests that many physicians leave practice, move states, etc. and that there needs to be changes in law to address this problem. Proposals include federal tax credits for malpractice premiums and changes in liability law. Such proposals emerge despite a relative paucity of available premium data.
In Malpractice Premiums In Massachusetts, A High-Risk State: 1975 To 2005, Marc Rodwin (Suffolk) et al. analyze malpractice premiums from 1975 to 2005 using data from the state-regulated mutual insurer, ProMutual Group. Their findings largely clash with popular perceptions and assumptions underlying legislative proposals to cap damages awards. In Massachusetts nearly all Bay State physicians paid lower inflation-adjusted malpractice premiums in 2005 than in 1990. Mean premiums increased only in three specialties comprising 4 percent of physicians: obstetrics, neurology, and orthopedists performing spinal surgery.