A new study suggests the inflation and the stock market -- not huge malpractice awards -- are to blame for rising insurance costs for doctors. Dartmouth College economists looked at actual malpractice awards over a 12-year period. They found a 4% annual growth in the paymentsfrom until 2000 when growth slowed to 1.6%. That roughly mirrors the rise in health care costs.
The economists concluded that as insurance companies made less profits from their investments they simply started jacking up prices. The study appears in the journal Health Affairs. (Boston Globe)