Insufficient information exists to explain the cause of medical malpractice premium spikes in recent years, according to a General Accounting Office study released today. While insurers' rising losses since 1998 appear to be the greatest contributor to growing premiums, a lack of state and national data on malpractice claims makes further analysis difficult. As a result, the GAO said, Congress might want to encourage the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to collect data that would be helpful in evaluating the malpractice market. "The insurance industry must make public the data it has been hiding for years," said Doug Heller, senior consumer advocate for the nonpartisan Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, in a written statement. "The GAO did not find that lawmakers should impose liability caps on injured patients; it found that insurers need to make more information available so policymakers can determine what is really going on." To find the 74-page GAO report online, click here. -- by Jeff Tieman
GAO can't explain malpractice premium rise
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