New five-author study, entitled "The US Medical Liability System: Evidence for Legislative Reform", in Annals of Family Medicine:
This study is the first to use the most comprehensive national medical liability payment data available to investigate the relationships between 10 specific state tort statutory reforms and malpractice payments and premiums. For the years 1999 through 2001, total and noneconomic damage caps were associated with lower dollar amounts per payment, confirming findings from smaller and less-recent studies. An important new finding is the association between total caps and lower insurance premiums; there is a suggestion that hard noneconomic damage caps are also associated with lower insurance premiums. This association is not surprising and calls into serious question the argument that recent increases in medical liability premiums are unrelated to payments.
Like much earlier work, the study finds that malpractice-suit curbs other than damage caps, whether or not desirable for other reasons, have much less of an observable effect on payouts or premiums. The authors include Janelle Guirguis-Blake, George E. Fryer, Robert L. Phillips, Jr., Ronald Szabat, and Larry A. Green.