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Exec's Personal Stake in Medical Malpractice Debate Concealed

Santa Monica, CA. -- A consumer group called today on the chairman of one of the nation's largest medical malpractice insurers to reveal his salary. Dr. Richard Anderson of The Doctor's Company has become a national spokesman for California-style caps on malpractice victims' compensation. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) recently learned that The Doctor's Co. has failed to report executive salaries in publicly filed documents with the California Department of Insurance.

"Doctors who pay premiums, victims who will be limited in their recovery and lawmakers who will be asked to trust your testimony must know your personal stake in limiting victims' legal rights," FTCR wrote.

Under the California system that Dr. Anderson is promoting nationwide, victims of medical malpractice will be limited to $250,000 recovery for all of their non-economic damages. FTCR notes that, while high paid executives may not be terribly impacted because their economic damages can be tremendously high, most citizens, and especially homemakers, children and low wage workers who are victims of medical negligence will be hurt the most.

"Though you advocate restricting the compensation that innocent victims can receive for a lifetime of suffering to an arbitrary amount, regardless of the judgment of juries, you refuse to even reveal how much money you collect every year without any pain and suffering," the group said.

According to publicly disclosed data, other malpractice insurance executives earn far more on an annual basis than victims of medical negligence would be allowed to receive in a lifetime, no matter how severe the injury. The CEO of St. Paul Companies, another large medical malpractice insurer, was paid over $9.7 million in 2001.

Anderson has stumped nationally for a Bush administration proposal modeled after the recovery caps contained in California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). However, studies have shown that MICRA did not reduce insurance premiums for doctors. Premiums did not drop until after the passage of Proposition 103 by California voters in 1988, which allowed for stronger regulation of the insurance industry.

FTCR's letter to Anderson can be read at: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/healthcare/fs/fs003004.php3

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