More and more, people are learning that tort reform is not a right-wing issue as its detractors claim. This week a thoughtful post showed up on the Occupy Wall Street website highlighting that support for reform transcends political parties; a forum post on the Occupy Wall Street website names tort reform as part of the solution to healthcare inflation. The post explained that physicians’ fear of litigation leads to defensive medicine (ordering possibly unnecessary tests, just in-case), which leads to increase medical costs, which leads to increased insurance costs. This is exactly the case in New York, recently being named to have the highest insurance rates in the country.
A recent report by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR) revealed that New York ranks worst in the nation for medical liability costs. According to the study, New York incurred one billion dollars in medical malpractice losses in 2010, nearly five times higher than California which has almost double our population. Total premiums collected, i.e. the cost to consumers, is double that of California. One key difference between New York and California? In the 1970s, California enacted a series of medical malpractice tort reforms, including limitations on non-economic “pain and suffering” awards.