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More on liability reform and the medically underinsured

Last year we took note of a paper presented at an American Law and Economics Association conference which found a relationship between limits on medical malpractice litigation and the percentage of the population covered by health insurance (the mechanism presumably being that curbs on lawsuits reduce upward pressure on the cost of providing insurance). Now (via Childs) comes word of an SSRN working paper by Jiafeng Sun and Joan T. Schmit, both of the University of Wisconsin Department of Actuarial Science, Risk Management and Insurance, entitled "How Do the State Medical Malpractice Laws Affect the Access to Health Care?" Abstract:

With 15 percent of the population in the United States lacking health insurance, significant effort is being made to identify solutions. A variety of responses have been implemented, ranging from changes to the insurance regulatory requirements to tax code revisions to legal system modifications. While a large body of literature addresses the effect of legal system modifications on medical malpractice claims and insurance as well as physician availability, we know of no prior research to investigate the effect on rates of uninsured. We test this relationship and discover that caps on non-economic damages are associated with decreasing rates of uninsured.

It is not clear from context which of the two investigations was conducted, or published, earlier, but their conclusions would appear to point in the same direction.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.