Medical expert witnesses at Medical Opinions Associates write on tort reform:
Well, then, what about medical malpractice insurance premiums? Premiums have increased and there is no doubt about it. The question is WHY have premiums increased. There are authorities who have looked at this issue and concluded that medical malpractice insurance premiums rise NOT just because of increased frequency of litigation or jury awards, but to compensate for poor insurance company investment returns. Robert Hunter, Insurance Director for the Consumer Federation of America recently pointed this out. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (formerly the U.S. General Accounting Office) has reported this several times, the most relevant being GAO 03-702. GAO reported that multiple factors, including falling investment income and rising reinsurance costs, have contributed to increases in premium rates. In one interesting comparison, the GAO report showed that the premiums insurers charge physicians in different locales have such huge variability that the discrepancy cannot be explained by claims incidence alone. If it is true that other factors contribute to premium increases, then it follows that preventing or limiting medical malpractice awards may not result in corresponding premium decreases.