Mass. Doctors Rally for Med-Mal Reform

April 9, 2003

Hundreds of Massachusetts doctors attended a rally on the steps of the State Capital in Boston on Tuesday to protest the premium increases they are being asked to pay in order to obtain medical malpractice insurance.

According to a report from Boston’s WCBV some obstetricians are facing hikes of as much as 75 percent. Their average payment for med mal coverage is now around $80,000 a year, and many of them have opted to practice only gynecology, leaving the state with a potential shortage of doctors willing to deliver babies.

The rally was held in support of pending legislation aimed at capping the amount of malpractice awards, but its passage remains unclear. According to WSBV’s report the doctors heard encouraging words from governor Mitt Romney, who indicated that he was very concerned “that if we don’t have medical malpractice insurance reform that we could jeopardize the ability of the citizens to get the kind of care that they deserve to have in one of the great health care states in the nation.”

The problem with any type of malpractice reform is that it must balance the need to compensate the victims and families for losses suffered as a result of a doctor’s errors against the interest of the community at large in retaining those doctors’ services at a reasonable cost. Massachusetts isn’t the first state, nor will it be the last, to try to find a solution to this problem.

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