Americans for Insurance Reform (AIR) have released a report taking aim at the profits earned by malpractice insurers.

AIR's report, “True Risk: Medical Liability, Malpractice Insurance and Health Care,” is authored by actuary J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), and Gillian Cassell-Stiga and Joanne Doroshow of the Center for Justice & Democracy.

"Thirty years of inflation-adjusted data show that medical malpractice premiums are the lowest they have been in this entire period,” Hunter said in a statement. “This is in no small part due to the fact that claims have fallen like a rock, down 45% since 2000. The periodic premium spikes we see in the data are not related to claims but to the economic cycle of insurers and to drops in investment income.”

Hunter said medical malpractice insurer profits are higher than the rest of the property/casualty industry, and sought to discredit the link between malpractice suits and the rising cost of health care.

"Our research makes clear that medical malpractice claims and premiums have almost no impact on the cost of health care,” Hunter said. “Medical malpractice premiums are less than one-half of one percent of overall health care costs, and medical malpractice claims are a mere one-fifth of one percent of health care costs. If Congress completely eliminated every single medical malpractice lawsuit, including all legitimate cases, as part of health care reform, overall health care costs would hardly change, but the costs of medical error and hospital-induced injury would remain and someone else would have to pay."

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