One report spotlights the crisis among doctors in North-eastern Ohio, who are refusing to deliver babies due to higher medical malpractice insurance premiums; another report from Detroit says that home owners insurance rates are going to rise an average of 23 percent in Michigan this year. It seems that higher premiums are becoming a major concern for consumers.
A news story from Cleveland’s NewsChannel 5 reports that rising insurance costs are forcing local doctors to quit. “A group of northeast Ohio doctors are refusing to deliver babies, and it’s being called a crisis,” said the report.
The doctors have indicated that they will leave their obstetric practices for good in November because medical malpractice costs are driving them out of business. “High premiums that double over the years are now up to almost $200,000, “according to NewsChannel 5. It quoted Dr. David Burkons, of University Suburban Health Center as stating that, “We have to do something to control the costs, or we’re going to lose physicians.”
Homeowners in Michigan are facing a related crisis. The Detroit Free Press in an article entitled “Gloom goes through the roof – Cash crunch seen as home insurance rates soar” reports that, “Skyrocketing home owners insurance rates could force more Michigan residents out of their homes.”
The report cites data from Michigan regulators indicating that “home owners insurance rates are expected to climb an average of 23 percent this year because of higher building costs, a slumping stock market and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.”
The Free Press reported that according to “mortgage experts,” both national rates of foreclosure and those in Michigan have been rising, hitting 23-year highs in June. “Nationwide, 1.23 percent of mortgages — about 640,000 — were in the process of foreclosure during the 3-month period ending in June, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. That compares with 1.28 percent in Michigan, the group said. “
Politicians have noticed the bad news. “Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Jennifer Granholm called for statewide public hearings Tuesday on why Michigan home owners are experiencing such large insurance cost increases,” the Free Press reported. It also noted that that insurance commissioner Frank Fitzgerald had acknowledged that the rate increases are steep, but has said that “they appear to be warranted because insurance companies kept rates artificially low during the mid to late 1990s.”