Marc Rodwin and the Massachusetts medical malpractice crisis

A Health Affairs paper by Suffolk University Law Professor Marc Rodwin et al. has been generating a lot of press and blog attention for its claim that there is no medical malpractice crisis in Massachusetts.  He and I have been debating the paper at Point of Law (Frank; Rodwin; Frank); as I show, that conclusion is highly suspect and seems divorced from the underlying data.


  • Since Tier one malpractice rates are not rising, let’s all support indexing medicare payments to doctors in high risk specialties to the change in malpractice insurance rates. This is the obvious way to eliminate inflation for doctor bills.

  • Tier-1 malpractice rates are rising substantially faster than inflation.

  • Your observations about the flawed analysis used in the paper are dead on. Unfortunately, it seems that Health Affairs often publishes questionable articles like this one in an effort to push a message.

  • Papers like this a full of “Bikini statistics”. That is to say, what they fail to reveal is much more interesting that what they show. To determine a true relationship between variables it is essential to isolate them. The paper in question does none of this, in fact, the data is uses doesn’t even support its own conclusions.

  • […] may remember Professor Rodwin and I debating his paper on Point of Law; that debate has spilled over onto the pages of the November/December issue of Health Affairs, […]