Finding an OB in Illinois

Dr. Benjamin Brewer, who writes the Wall Street Journal’s “The Doctor’s Office” column, discusses the OB shortage caused in Illinois by the medical malpractice problem. Trial lawyers like to blame the insurance industry’s investments and “business practices,” but the leading insurer in Illinois, ISMIE, has only 3% of its funds in the stock market. (Moreover, ISMIE is a mutual insurer–profits go back to its member doctors. The doctors aren’t conspiring to charge themselves too much; ISMIE’s rates reflect the payouts it makes in malpractice cases.) Large swaths of southern Illinois and nearly half the counties in the state have no obstetrical hospital services at all. Brewer concludes “it may take a federal law to stimulate the reform process in Illinois, where entrenched proponents of our broken system hold political and judicial sway.” (“When a Pregnant Patient Struggles to Find Care”, Jan. 4). Our sister site, Point of Law, comments on tomorrow’s Presidential visit to Madison County, where Bush will discuss his litigation reform agenda for the upcoming Congress. (Krysten Crawford, “Bush heads to ‘Judicial Hellhole'”, CNN/Money, Jan. 4; Ryan Keith, “Bush to Highlight Tort Reform in Ill.”, AP/Newsday, Jan. 4; Caleb Hale, “Doctors Are Eager To Hear What Bush Will Say About Crisis”, The Southern, Jan. 4; Mark Silva, “Bush’s tort reform efforts to start at ‘judicial hellhole'”, Chicago Tribune, Jan. 3).

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