Will President Obama’s latest gun changes increase medical malpractice insurance rates?
We had a chance to watch President Obama’s news conference earlier today and it got us thinking. Will the following wording expose physicians to more risks, this is directly from the White House:
PRESERVE THE RIGHTS OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS TO PROTECT THEIR PATIENTS AND COMMUNITIES FROM GUN VIOLENCE: We should never ask doctors and other health care providers to turn a blind eye to the risks posed by guns in the wrong hands.
Clarify that no federal law prevents health care providers from warning law enforcement authorities about threats of violence: Doctors and other mental health professionals play an important role in protecting the safety of their patients and the broader community by reporting direct and credible threats of violence to the authorities. But there is public confusion about whether federal law prohibits such reports about threats of violence. The Department of Health and Human Services is issuing a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits these reports in any way.
Protect the rights of health care providers to talk to their patients about gun safety: Doctors and other health care providers also need to be able to ask about firearms in their patients’ homes and safe storage of those firearms, especially if their patients show signs of certain mental illnesses or if they have a young child or mentally ill family member at home. Some have incorrectly claimed that language in the Affordable Care Act prohibits doctors from asking their patients about guns and gun safety. Medical groups also continue to fight against state laws attempting to ban doctors from asking these questions. The Administration will issue guidance clarifying that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit or otherwise regulate communication between doctors and patients, including about firearms.
We think there’s a very good chance this will happen. As you know, we are not an insurance company, so we don’t set rates. We are an insurance broker that shops your coverage to each insurance company. However, since we’ve been doing this, we have noticed a trend. Granted, we do not have data to back this up, but whenever an insurance company believes there’s additional risk or exposure, this forces rates to rise.
We will be reaching out to our colleagues to hear from them, but we want to hear from you. Do you think medical malpractice insurance rates will rise because of this? Do you think it’s fair that the Federal Government now looks to you for more then just immediate medical care?