April 18, 2014
According to a new RAND report, the expansion of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act may increase the number of medical malpractice claims made against physicians and other health care providers and drive malpractice costs higher. The report estimates the ACA will increase the cost of medical malpractice liability payments by $160 million in 2016, or 2.8 percent for the U.S. However, the estimated increase varies considerably by state depending on variations in their tort laws (e.g., some states cap the total amount of medical malpractice awards or cap some components of an award). The report estimates that medical malpractice liability payments will increase by 7.8 percent in New Mexico, but only 0.4 percent in Wisconsin. According to Mark Wilson, the Association's Chief Economist, "the report vividly illustrates that much more needs to be done within the ACA to reduce these costs to providers, consumers, and employers."