CALIFORNIA IN BRIEF : SANTA BARBARA : Plan Offered to Buy Malpractice Policies
A proposal that malpractice insurance costs to obstetricians, which now often run $40,000 a year, be spread out over the larger medical community through a small hospital bed tax, or through health insurance premiums paid by all individuals, was made by Walter Zelman, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for insurance commissioner. Zelman said California now ranks 36th out of the 50 states in the percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care. In part, he said, this is because many obstetricians have been driven out of their specialty by malpractice insurance costs. It is also a result of cuts in state aid for the needy, he said.