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Medical Malpractice

             Due to an ever-increasing number of frivolous malpractice cases being filed as well as the increasing size of jury awards, medical malpractice insurance has become a dominant problem for healthcare providers in the United States. The public¡¦s misconception of the severity of the impact on doctors and hospitals prevents them from seeing the bigger picture. The lack of media coverage on the subject has made the public grossly unaware as to how serious this problem has become. The rise in medical malpractice insurance not only adversely affects doctors and hospitals, but the quality of care available to patients as well.
             Recently medical malpractice premiums have skyrocketed. ¡§The cost of malpractice insurance for specialists has risen more then 10 percent in recent years and could increase by an average of 20 percent or more this year. States without limits on non-economic malpractice damages are experiencing the sharpest increase ¡V 30-50 percent.¡¨ (¡§HHS Calls for National Malpractice Legislation¡¨). This actually may be severely underestimated.
             ¡§By some estimates, as many as 86 percent of medical malpractice claims filed in the state of Texas are dismissed without payment to a patient. Yet doctors and insurance companies must spend millions of dollars defending themselves against baseless claims¡¨ (Gov. Perry, Rick). Adding to this are the multimillion-dollar awards that are given out by juries, which drive up the premiums. Those awards force insurers out of the malpractice insurance market. The insurers that stay in the malpractice market are forced to raise rates in order to try and protect themselves in the future. The St. Paul Cos. is said to be ¡§the nations second medical-malpractice insurer¡¨, yet it withdrew from the malpractice market because the company found it was paying ¡§$1.80 in defense costs for every $1 collected in premiums¡¨, causing the company to lose over one billion dollars in one year.