Monday, January 05, 2004

2,500 Florida doctors will see their malpractice insurance rates go up by 45% in 2004.

If you're a conservative commentator, you're thinking "See? This is why we need tort reform that includes caps on damages in malpractice suits. Lawsuits are pricing doctors right out of business - here's your proof." Which would be fine, except that Florida already passed exactly that kind of legislation in August. Insurance companies were supposed to figure their 2004 rates based on the new caps.

The insurance company's justification is distinctly fishy.
``When you think about how medical costs will rise in the future, it becomes apparent that the costs of providing medical care to a plaintiff years down the road are astronomical,'' MedPro spokesman John Novaria said. ``In order to meet those costs, we have to ask for higher premiums.''
Aren't we always being told that spiraling malpractice insurance rates are largely responsible for rising health care costs? So now the insurance companies are using the prospect of higher health care costs in the future to jack up providers' insurance rates...which will increase the costs of providing care...which will lead to higher future medical costs for patients...which will justify still-higher malpractice insurance rates, because costs are expected to continue to increase.

I'm dizzy.