What Medical Malpractice Crisis?

During the healthcare debate, we’ve witnessed those who want to restrict consumer access to the courts talk about the medical malpractice crisis. In their arguments, they’d often cite doctors fleeing the practice of medicine and insurance premiums being raised as a direct result of medical malpractice lawsuits.
But the facts don’t support these hyperbolic rants. In 2009, fewer medical malpractice claims were paid than any previous year, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank. While medical malpractice payments fell 8% last year, healthcare spending rose 83%.
This doesn’t seem like a crisis to me.