Over the past year I have commented on the dearth of good analysis on med mal. This is true for advocates on both sides of the issue. I was especially critical of Mr. Angoff’s analysis of the med mal problem. (Recap: funded by what Jonathan Wilson calls a Naderite organization, Mr. Angoff says that we don’t need reform as it is the insurers which are the problem—just look at how profitable they are!)
I also read the Towers Perrin’s response on the PIAA website which came out a week or two ago. (You can get a flavor of the tone of the report here. The report’s analysis is a C+ as far as it goes, but its tone is over the top.)
Rob Hoyt and Lars Powell (funded by the HCLA) undertake a more thorough study and do a much better job of going through Angoff’s analysis piece by piece without the rhetoric. I’d give them an A. The authors use standard definitions and work through each of Mr. Angoff’s claims refuting them one by one. Here is the bottom line:
Due to the use of a critically flawed approach, we argue that Angoff (2005) cannot make meaningful conclusions regarding whether physicians are being over-charged for professional liability insurance. In this report, we describe some of the errors and shortcomings in Angoff’s (2005) methodology. We then present our findings on the financial performance of the medical malpractice insurance industry using a more appropriate basis for analysis of the issue. Contrary to the findings of Angoff (2005), we find no evidence that medical malpractice insurance is overpriced.
Note: In a previous version of this post I stated that the Towers Perrin report was funded by the PIAA. This is not true. Towers Perrin did not take compensation for the report.