Hey Texas, How is Tort Reform Working Out For You?

The tort reform movement took hold of the Long Horn State in 2003 guaranteeing to rid the state of those pesky, scumbag trial lawyers and, as a result, keep all of those great doctors from leaving the state and keeping medical, hospital, and surgical bills within reason since no one would be paying those outrageous jury verdicts in medical malpractice cases.

What has been the result?

A report from the consumer advocacy group, Public Citizen, found the following:

Texans’ health care costs and insurance premiums have continued to grow, outpacing the national average, since the state imposed a cap on non economic damages for medical liability lawsuits in 2003.

The report’s findings undercut the tenet espoused by proponents of the cap: that medical malpractice lawsuits contribute significantly to the cost of health care. Since Texas instituted a $250,000 cap on non economic damages, malpractice litigation has declined precipitously, but health care costs and insurance premiums have not followed suit.

“Those who blame medical malpractice litigation for rising health care costs and diminished access to care tend to focus on the theory that the fear of litigation motivates doctors to prescribe unnecessary tests and procedures to insulate themselves against potential lawsuits,” the report’s authors said.

Did the cap on damages hold down the cost of medical care in Texas? No. The data shows that Medicare spending for prescribed tests and procedures in Texas increased nearly 40 percent faster than the national average in the four years after the cap was implemented. Medicare spending for diagnostic testing increased approximately 25 percent faster than the national average over the same time period.

Don’t mess with Texas….they seem to be pretty messed up as it is.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.