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Malpractice Premiums on the Decline

The Baltimore Sun reports today that Maryland’s largest medical malpractice insurer will cut premiums by 8% in 2007. The rate reduction would be the insurer’s first across-the-board cut since at least 1992, though doctors won’t see a drop in premiums due this month to Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society of Maryland.

It is hard to be surprised by this. Many medical malpractice lawyers in Maryland believe that Med Mutual and the other medical insurers in Maryland were creatively playing the numbers to create a crisis in 2004-05, a time when the political climate was best for legislation to limit the medical malpractice victims’ rights in Maryland. Now that the medical malpractice insurance companies have been able to limit the rights of those injured by medical malpractice, the insurance companies have no problem reducing the premiums and getting back to business as usual.

One thing I can assure you: those who are arguing for health care tort reform in Maryland would have told you you were insane if you said medical malpractice premiums would fall 8% in 2006. If this were known at the time that the Maryland legislature passed the new medical malpractice bill that further limited recoveries, it would not have passed.

So, now that we have a new governor who supports victims’ rights, can we push for legislation that reverts to the law that already limited recovery for medical victims? No. Unfortunately, the pendulum of the politics of tort reform swings only one way. There is no correction for the rights we have taken from medical malpractice victims when we find out the sky is not falling — there are no doctors on food stamps and anyone can find a doctor in any specialty that they need.

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