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How Texas Cured Its Doctor Shortage and Became a Model for Healthcare Reform
Date:11/12/2008

ten tried to find one test or procedure the doctor did not order in an attempt to convince the medically unsophisticated jury that was the reason the patient had a problem to begin with.

No other country in the world permits trial lawyers to practice the way they do in the United States. These trial lawyers not only drive up the cost of health insurance, much of which was paid by business, but they also directly attacked businesses with similar frivolous lawsuits forcing businesses to flee Texas. The economy was depressed, many businesses closed and numerous people lost their jobs.

Though 85 percent of these frivolous lawsuits failed, doctors paid tens of thousands of dollars in unreimbursed expenses to defend themselves.

In 2003, the Texas Legislature passed medical liability reforms which were approved by voters who voted for the reforms in a constitutional amendment.

The reforms capped medical malpractice noneconomic jury awards at $750,000 ($250,000 for doctors, $250,000 for the first hospital and $250,000 for other health-care facilities), on lawsuit judgments for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. There is no cap on actual damages, such as medical bills or lost income. For death related case, economic damages were capped at $1.6 million. The reforms created stricter requirements for expert testimony and a tougher negligence standard for emergency medical cases.

The results after medical liability reform were spectacular as physicians by the thousand voted with their feet coming to Texas from the states that had not enacted tort reform. At one point there were so many doctors applying to Texas Medical Licensing Authority that they had a six month backlog in processing applications. Insurance costs have continued to come down over the past 5 years and the state had a financial boom with thousands of new high paying jobs being created. Texas has proven that medical liability reform works.

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SOURCE HealthMadeEasy.com
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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