Rocky Mountain News Misses the Point – Again

A seemingly innocuous proposed bill has recently come under attack by our very own Rocky Mountain News. Senate Bill 248 is a bill that will exponentially help consumers and the medical community. It’s aimed at education and informed choice in the realm of medical malpractice insurance. SB 248 allows for a hearing in front of the Colorado insurance commission, upon request, only when an insurance carrier with a 65% or greater market share requests a global rate increase of 5% or more. What does this mean? It means that the larger medical malpractice insurers in the state would be required to actually inform its insureds if it decides to increase rates by 5% or more. This is a good thing because these measures, if implemented, would promote transparency and the free flow of information sharing. It ensures that doctors are informed when COPIC wants to increase rates of 5% or more and ensures that the increase is fair and reasonable given changing conditions. SB 248 protects doctors from unilateral rate increases not in line with the needs of Colorado’s medical community.

The Rocky in an editorial published on April 13, 2007, paints the proposed bill in a much different light, however. The Rocky claims that plaintiff’s lawyers in Colorado support the bill because COPIC plays hardball and hasn’t paid any money in settlement or judgment over the past eight years. This is not what SB 248 is about. The proposed bill is about fairness and education and ensuring that doctor’s premiums are raised according to the changing conditions in Colorado. The Rocky claims that COPIC’s forceful tactics cuts medical bills for patients. COPIC’s alleged tactics has little if nothing to do with doctor’s bills; if anything, the amount doctors pay out in medical malpractice insurance rates effect how much doctors’ charge their patients. This is exactly why SB 248 is good for doctors, good for consumers and good for Colorado and why at least 1/3 of states have this type of law.