What players shape Medical Malpractice Insurance Reform?

Professional Medical Liability Insurance reform has hit a wall in Washington because of large lobbyist groups who do not want to see the rules changed. We’ve seen for sometime now that whether the reform is necessary or not doesn’t really matter. What we need to do is look at who makes up both sides of this med-mal insurance reform battle and what motivates them.

The first player is the attorneys and their trade groups. Trial lawyers have formed trade groups to lobby politicians into either scrapping tort reform altogether, or into shaping policy so the profits lawyers make isn’t affected. In a medical malpractice case, there are two sides, and they both have multiple lawyers. One of these trade groups, American Association for Justice, has advocated that Congress not get involved in reforming insurance companies or tort reform.

The other side of this professional liability insurance fight is made up of insurance companies and physicians. Insurance companies know the cost in fighting lawsuits, especially the frivolous ones. Physicians, even though they occasionally have a bad reputation with everyday folk, want to practice medicine, and help their patients without fear that they will get sued for the slightest mistake. I’ve spoken to enough doctors to know that they understand that some of the malpractice lawsuits are necessary. They also know that they are human and will occasionally make errors. They got into medicine to help sick and less fortunate people and over time have become fearful of practicing the way they want to. Now we have issues with MD’s and DO’s practicing defensive medicine, or CYA (Cover Your Ass) medicine. This in turn drives up costs that shouldn’t have happened if doctors didn’t dread having their name appear on the next lawsuit.

Medical Malpractice Insurance reform needs to happen, but we need to remove big interests and create laws that benefit everyone, not just one side or the other. Will this ever happen? Only time will tell……but with money involved, odds are the legislation that gets passed won’t be perfect.

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