Letter to the Editor

Insurers get pass on malpractice

Monday, May 10, 2004

To the editor:

Shame on you for taking such a simplistic view of the issue of medical malpractice premiums. Your throwaway line that the market will take care of any overcharges is naive at best. However, it is consistent with a view that we can just let business take care of it and we will be fine. Right -- like we were with Enron, Adelphia and others.

Malpractice insurers are getting a free ride, and you are blindly taking their word for their huge raises in premiums despite these facts: They had a record return on their premiums last year, according to the Department of Insurance; they had fewer claims than in the past 17 years; there has been a cap on medical malpractice cases since 1986, adjusted only for inflation; and the only variable that has been thrown into medical malpractice cases was a court of appeals decision last year which changed the definition of an occurrence, which neither side anticipated and which trial lawyers were ready to change with this session of the legislature.

Your concern for insurance companies ignores the rights of victims. Why should someone who has been hurt and will have to live with that for the rest of his life have that pain and suffering not even adjusted for inflation? Since when did profits for insurance companies rise to more importance that people's well-being?

Thank God we have a governor who has the guts to stand up for victims against the moneyed interests.


Cape Girardeau