Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ohioans Health Insurance Premuims Rise 84%--Proof That "Tort Reform" Does Not Lower Health Care Costs

In previous posts I have been practically shouting that medical liability or "tort reform" will have NO bearing on the cost of your escalating health insurance premuims. In fact, I asked:

What is also not being mentioned in this "debate" (more like people screaming rudely at town hall meetings) is that 32 states have ALREADY passed lawsuit caps or limits on lawsuit recovery. So the obvious question becomes: where is the data from The AMA or the insurance industry proving to us that health care costs are falling in these states? If the AMA, the insurance industry, and The Chamber Of Commerce are correct about medical malpractice reforms reducing health care costs, there should be ample data showing that health care costs and premuims are significantly lower in these 32 states, right?

Well, we FINALLY have some data out of Ohio. Since 2000, Ohioans health insurance premuims have risen 84%!!!! Guess what? We have had medical "tort reform in this state since 2003, or 6 out of the last 9 years! Included in these "reforms" is a one size fits all "cap" on your recovery for things like being paralyzed, losing a limb, or losing your bowel or bladder function, brain damage--at anywhere from $250,000 to a "generous" $350,000. This cap was sold by insurance companies and the Ohio State Medical Association as being collectively good for all Ohioans ("don't you know that limiting YOUR legal rights is GOOD for you?") as a way to keep spiraling health care costs under control.

Under control? Good for Ohioans? Does an 84% increase in your health insurance premuims sound like it's been good for you? Bottom line: YOUR rights have been put on the chopping block, your recovery as an innocent victim of preventable malpractice is now arbitrarily limited, and your premuims have gone up 84%. You as an Ohioan just got a double whammy. There's another term for this nonsense: bait and switch. Cracking down on "frivolous lawsuits" was the bait or impetus for these reforms, and the switch is that they have had no effect on your premuims.

Yet, we're currently mired in a national debate where insurance groups and medical groups are pushing for these Oh, by the way, the salaries of insurance company CEO's are not capped by any legislation. The caps only apply to you, the individual.

This madness reminds me of the poker scene in the movie Stripes, where the naive/ dim witted soldier shows fellow soldier Dewey Oxberger (played by John Candy) his poker hand, and Candy tells him: "Yeah, if I were you I'd bet it all." And then Ox wins the hand and takes all money. Very similar to what is going on now, minus the loveable Ox...

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