Medical Malpractice Liability and Its Effect on Prenatal Care Utilization and Infant Death

ArticleinJournal of Health Economics 20(4):591-611 · August 2001with26 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.58 · DOI: 10.1016/S0167-6296(01)00082-0

    Abstract

    In this paper we conduct the first national evaluation of the effect of malpractice liability pressure, as measured by malpractice premiums, on prenatal care utilization and infant health. Our results indicate that a decrease in malpractice premiums that would result from a feasible policy reform would lead to a decrease in the incidence of late prenatal care by between 3.0 and 5.9% for black women and between 2.2 and 4.7% for white women. Although, we found evidence that malpractice liability pressure was associated with greater prenatal care delay and fewer prenatal care visits, we did not find evidence that such pressure negatively affected infant health.