The Bush administration has waged a campaign to try to convince doctors that trial lawyers are to blame for their skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates. That assertion, of course, has no basis in reality.
Now, in Washington State, doctors are getting smart. As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports, “After years of their lobbyists calling for caps on plaintiff’s damage awards, squeezing lawyers’ contingency fees and trying to throw litigation roadblocks in the way of injured patients and their families, the state’s doctors may have found a legitimate way to cut medical malpractice premiums: Get their malpractice insurance company to quit gouging them.”
Specifically, State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced Wednesday that he had ordered the state’s largest medical malpractice insurer to refund more than $1.3 million plus interest in excess premiums charged in 2003. The action came one day after Kreidler’s office released a report that “appears to give lie to allegations of a ‘crisis’ in medical malpractice.”
Don’t expect President Bush to have a change of heart on his push for malpractice “reform” (a.k.a. limiting victims’ rights) — he and his fellow conservatives have taken millions from the insurance industry.