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Insurance Industry Should Immediately Release Data to the Public, Says Report

A report released by the United States General Accounting Office today recommended that insurance companies immediately release available data relating to medical malpractice premiums. The report highlighted the lack of relevant and comprehensive data available to policymakers, who are attempting to determine the key causes of the skyrocketing cost of medical malpractice insurance. The study comes at a crucial time, as legislators investigate the possibility of mandatory “caps” on all non-economic damages awarded to victims of medical malpractice. Insurance industry members have said that high jury awards have forced them to raise premiums for medical malpractice insurance. Consumer advocates and medical malpractice attorneys disagree, pointing to the mismanagement of insurance funds, decreased competition and investment declines as possible contributors. According to consumer advocate Doug Heller, “The GAO did not find that lawmakers should impose liability caps on injured patients, it found that insurers need to make more information available so policymakers can determine what is really going on… whenever data is revealed, insurers’ case for liability caps falls apart.”

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