How often have you heard someone say that “medical malpractice claims are driving good doctors out of business, thus we need medical liability reform,” or something to that effect. Well, the facts don’t support this statement. You don’t have to take our word for it – just look at the dividends being paid to Arizona doctors by thier insurer, Mutual Insurance Company of Arizona (MICA).
This year (2010), the MICA board of directors declared a sixty million dollar ($60,000,000.00) dividend to Arizona doctors. Yes, you read it correctly – SIXTY MILLION DOLLARS!! Over the past five years, the dividends paid back to Arizona doctors have totaled ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY MILLION DOLLARS!!!
This begs the question – why is MICA charging its doctors so much up front, only to pay it back in a dividend? Why not just charge the doctors a lower premium to begin? One answer is that MICA wants to use the large premiums it charges as propoganda to trick the public and the Arizona legislature into thinking that the medical liability system in Arizona is “in crisis,” so there is a need to cap the damages that can be awarded to the victims of medical negligence.
We suggest that the solution to all of this is not to discuss liability caps or tort reform, but to enact insurance reform so that doctors are only required to pay a reasonable premium from the start.