Last week, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, with support from Big I NY, launched a new ad campaign, “Not One More Cost Hike”, in order to educate elected officials, local business owners, families, and voters of the costly consequences of A.6770/S.74-A. As written, the bill will radically expand the types of damages recoverable in wrongful death lawsuits – sending insurance premiums skyrocketing.
An analysis from global actuarial firm Milliman, Inc. finds that if A.6770/S.74-A is enacted, insurance costs – including personal auto and general liability for small businesses – could increase by more than $2 billion. For medical professional liability insurance, costs are projected to balloon by as much as 45%.
“Our local governments, doctors and hospitals, and our friends and neighbors can’t afford one more cost hike in these difficult economic times,” said Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York. “If signed into law, this bill will drain municipal budgets, increase household expenses as we battle record inflation, and devastate New York’s already strained healthcare system, disproportionately harming the medical professionals and hospitals that serve our communities.”
Dr. Parag Mehta, President of the Medical Society of the State of New York, said, “New York’s physicians have been fighting on the frontlines of the COVID, Monkeypox and now polio pandemics. This wrongful death bill passed by the State Legislature presents a new crisis for these physician heroes as it imposes new costs in malpractice insurance. This bill will be devastating for patients, as it undermines the financial survival of their primary care doctors, pediatricians, OBGYNS, any specialty doctor they see as well as emergency physicians – particularly those in underserved and diverse communities who are already financially challenged. New York physicians already pay among the highest liability costs in the country. They can’t afford to watch this bill increase those costs by more than 40%, putting the integrity of our healthcare system at risk and chasing many physicians out of the state.”
Peter Baynes, Executive Director of the New York State Conference of Mayors, said, “Local governments in New York already contend with a uniquely difficult liability environment and are roped into a disproportionate number of lawsuits, even when they have little or no connection to the underlying matter. Any increase in liability costs for the Empire State’s cities, villages, counties and towns will divert taxpayer funds away from critical community services and reduce our ability to invest in the future. There should be reform across the board – before expanding liability, let’s fix the laws that make New York’s civil justice system the country’s most expensive.”
Lev Ginsburg, Esq., Counsel to The Business Council of New York State, said, “This is a difficult economic environment for everyone. We should be focused on good public policy that reduces costs, combats inflation, and eases the burden on our economy. Unfortunately, this bill would do just the opposite and drastically increase insurance premiums for businesses of all sizes. That means higher prices for consumers and when it comes to healthcare, double-digit increases for years to come.”
Insurance costs for doctors and hospitals in New York State are already some of the highest in the country, especially in the Bronx and on Long Island. Leading the nation in medical liability lawsuit payouts, which totaled more than $430 million in 2021, New York remains among the states ranked worst for providers to practice, deterring physicians from opening their own practices.
A.6770/S.74-A was passed by both houses of the New York State Legislature in June and now awaits action from Governor Kathy Hochul. Once sent to her office, she has 10 days to sign or veto the bill.