Todd Lamb: Rate Hikes Coming To a Hospital Near You

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By Todd D. Lamb

If you subscribe to the theory that rate hikes are the same as tax increases – then you should know that your taxes are about to go up – in the form of medical insurance fees.

The reason? “[T]he continuing growth in the cost of litigating and resolving medical malpractice claims.” That was the reason provided by the state’s largest insurer, Medical Mutual Liability Insurance Society Maryland, prior to their formal request for the rate hike to the Maryland Insurance Administration.

A story in the Baltimore Business Journal mentions how some in the political community dismissed MEDCHI’s CEO Gene Ransom’s warning about this last Spring. This is a difficult scenario to believe if you know Gene Ransom well. Gene does something that a lot political types don’t do – he talks to doctors and he sees firsthand the rate of increased litigation they are facing.

The lawsuit culture in Maryland affects perhaps no other industry as adversely as it does the medical community. There is this misguided perception that all doctors have deep pockets ripe for the plucking of any patient who doesn’t like a particular outcome.

Next time you go to a doctor’s appointment – (the ER, a dermatologist, an allergist, etc.) ask them how they feel about the “sue first” mentality in this country. I guarantee you will see a side of your physician that you have never seen before. Far too many of our physicians have to worry first about being sued rather than their main focus – healing the sick. Now it might affect our pocketbooks, too.

Todd D. Lamb is the executive director of Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. This is his second opinion piece for Center Maryland.
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