Canada Keeps Medical Malpractice Insurance Costs in Check
side note: Anti-healthcare reformers point to the “socialized” medicine to our north as an example of a terrible system, but the Canadian system costs a fraction of the United States’ expenditures. Perhaps there are things about the Canadian healthcare system that we could learn from. It’s important to remember we need to keep the divisive political comments out if we hope to make real progress in healthcare reform.
For neurosurgeons in Miami, the annual cost of medical malpractice insurance is astronomical — $237,000, far more than the median price of a house.
In Toronto, a neurosurgeon pays about $29,200 for coverage. It’s even less in Montreal ($20,600) and Vancouver ($10,650).
Among the reasons why: in 1978 the Canadian Supreme Court imposed (on its own) nationwide limits on pain-and-suffering recoveries, adjusted for inflation and now just over $300,000. A single mutual insurer covers most doctors and takes an aggressive approach to defending claims. Most cases are tried before judges. Billboard and TV advertising by lawyers is much less prevalent in Canada. And so forth — all aside from the loser-pays principle.