The Politics of Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania, 1975-2005

  • February 01, 2006
  • By Rogan Kersh
Since the initial modern malpractice crisis hit Pennsylvania and the nation in the mid-1970s, two successive episodes—including one in the present, which by autumn 2005 appeared to be abating—have rocked the Commonwealth's liability insurers, medical providers, and health-care consumers. The state's political establishment was swift to respond with reform legislation in both the first crisis and the present one; a malpractice bill also passed in 1996, in the wake of the 1980s troubles. But, in 1975 and 2002 alike, passage of a comprehensive reform measure did little to alleviate pressures for continued legislative relief. Political efforts to address soaring liability premiums and other systemic malpractice woes continued for years afterwards.