The past several years have seen significant increases in the costs of medical malpractice litigation. The result has been higher malpractice insurance premiums for physicians and health care facilities, which in turn has led to higher costs for the health care system.

In 2001, premiums for medical malpractice insurance topped $21 billion, double the amount 10 years earlier.1 The increases continued in 2003 and 2004.2 At a time when other costs for providing medical services are increasing and reimbursement from third-party payers is decreasing, physicians are being forced to make some difficult decisions about their careers and the care they provide. It should not be a surprise that this trend in increased liability insurance costs is beginning to take a toll on access to pediatric services.

From 1992 to 2001, premiums for medical malpractice insurance more than doubled, increasing an average of 8.1% per year. That is 3...

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