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Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund Rolls Back Malpractice Rates

On October 24, 2010, the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund announced that it is rolling back insurance premiums for Louisiana doctors and health care providers by an average of 15.8 percent.  This reduction in malpractice premiums is retroactive to September 2, 2010.  The surcharge decrease will save doctors from $1,000 to more than $8,000 a year on their medical malpractice insurance premiums.  

Louisiana has a two-tier system of insuring medical malpractice claims for the cap of $500,000.  The first tier is paid by the Louisiana Medical Mutual Insurance Company (LAMMICO), which provides private insurance coverage for the first $100,000 of liability damages    The second tier is paid by the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund, (the "PCF"), which collects premiums and pays medical malpractice judgments and settlements for the remaining $400,000.    LAMMICO said it will keep rates the same in 2011 as they are this year.  LAMMICO has had no rate increase in seven years and actually reduced the rates in 2005, 2007 and 2009.

All of this demonstrates that there is no medical malpractice insurance crisis in Louisiana as proponents of so called "Tort Reform" suggest.  Louisiana doctors are not leaving the state in droves because of an inability to procure affordable medical malpractice liability insurance coverage.  These have been the arguments of those who still favor keeping the $500,000 cap on medical malpractice cases which was passed in 1975, and which has never been adjusted for inflation.  That $500,000 cap includes lost wages and applies regardless of the number of claimaints who make a claim.  In today's dollars the $500,000 which was used as the basis for the cap in 1975 is worth more than $1.7 million.  In other words, if that cap had simply been adjusted for inflation, today's cap should be $1.7 million. 

Medical malpractice victims bear the total brunt of this unfair law.  Now, it is clear that the arguments previously made in favor of keeping the cap at $500,000 cannot be taken seriously.  It is time we put victim compensation for provable wrong-doing ahead of insurance company profits.