The law ended ridiculously high noneconomic (e.g. pain, suffering and loss of consortium or society) awards handed out in Illinois malpractice suits, especially in downstate Madison County, the malpractice lawyer's mecca. The law was effective, helping reduce medical costs and stemming the departure of Illinois health care providers because of excessively high malpractice insurance costs.The article forgets one additional effect of such a law: it made bad doctors stay in the state. When the punishment for malpractice increases, so too does the cost of practicing medicine, especially for the worst (most likely to get sued) doctors. Of course, higher malpractice payouts should all get passed to consumers in the form of higher doctor's fees, because in the long run doctor location is elastic.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Supreme Court sets bad public policy
In the Chicago Tribune Opinion "Supreme Court sets bad public policy" (February 8th, 2010) describes the consequences of striking down an Illinois law prohibiting exorbitantly high awards for malpractice lawsuits: