Thursday, February 13, 2014
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad's 2015 state budget includes a section on "Helping Keep Doctors in Iowa." Among the ideas he proposes is a cap on non-economic medical malpractice awards. The Des Moines Register responded with an editorial (via The Pop Tort) in opposition that cited a study by the University of Iowa's Carver School of Medicine. The school surveyed all doctors leaving Iowa in 2007 and 2008. Of the 220 who responded, only one cited liability exposure as the most important reason for leaving. As The Pop Tort points out, this finding is consistent with empirical work by Bernard Black, Charles Silver, and David Hyman. Caps will not significantly affect physician supply and they have a disparate impact on the most seriously injured. Iowa should proceed by other means.