Now that the Republicans have gained control of the Mississippi House or Representatives, they are seeking more tort reform. They are doing this even though the doctors’ own insurance company say they no longer need any more! Yes, you read that correctly. The CEO of the doctors’ insurance company, Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi (“MACM”) was quoted in a Clarion Ledger article as follows: “It would be hard for me to argue more tort reform is needed,” Mike Houpt said. “We’re content with what we have.” Yet the Republicans want to lower the caps on damages AND institute a “loser pays” system which would make the loser of a lawsuit pay the other side’s cost. Whose agenda are the Republicans pushing?
The “loser pays” idea is simple. Over the course of a lawsuit, each side spends money on such things as depositions, expert witnesses, copying, etc. Costs can easily reach $10,000 in the most “simple” car wreck cases. “Loser pays” would require the “loser” of a lawsuit to pay the other winner’s costs as well as their own. So who is this designed to hurt? To a huge company like State Farm, $10,000 is nothing. To the average Mississippian, $10,000 is more than most folks have in savings. There is not way the could afford to pay this which means they would not file a lawsuit for fear of having to pay this kind of money.
Now, keep in mind that the doctors are “content” with what they have. This is the same group who claimed they were being forced out of Mississippi just 10 years ago. Now things are going so well that the doctors are receiving refunds on their insurance premiums and their insurance company is making a huge profit. I wonder if the quality of health care in Mississippi is going up as well? Are the number of deaths and serious injuries due to medical negligence going down? Oh well, who really cares about that. As long as the doctors are making money and forcing us to wait an hour to see them on every visit then things are fine. But, I digress.