The fight over California’s Proposition 46 is heating up. Medical malpractice insurance companies have committed $45 million to an effort that would ensury greater patient safety and doctor accountability. “The claim that insurance rates and health care costs will go up is preposterous in light of the malpractice insurance companies’ industry-leading returns and regulation in California that has blocked some of the malpractice insurance industry’s excessive profits, said Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog Campaign. “When was the last time insurance companies spent $45 million to make sure their policyholders’ premiums didn’t rise?” Insurance company executives claim that medical malpractice claims force the insurance companies to raise their rates to policyholders. Yet, the facts demonstrate a different tale. According to data from the California Department of Insurance, loss ratios of medical malpractice insurers are consistently lower than other kinds of insurance. In the last ten years, medical malpractice insurance loss ratios never topped 38%. In 2008, the loss ratio for California’s medical malpractice insurers was merely 18% — meaning just 18 cents of every premium dollar collected from California doctors was paid out in claims to injured patients. In comparison, other property and business insurance lines typically have loss ratios above 50%. This is not a battle being waged just in California. For years, insurance companies have fought against the interests of the consumer and individuals who need quality healthcare.
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