How Tort Reform Causes the Problems it was Meant to Solve: The Texas Example

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Texas Flag by M Glasgow

Opponents of patients’ right praise Texas’ tort reform as a model for other state’s of success. In 2003 Texas medical liability reforms were enacted to reduce exodus of doctors from the state due to high medical liability insurance costs.

In hopes of avoiding a reduction in the quality of health care in the state, caps were put into place, limiting damages for pain and suffering in most malpractice cases to $250,000.  Texas’ reform has influenced other states to adopt similar caps to damages. In facts Texas is one of 31 states to have created a cap on damages.

However the most recent data shows that the tort reform has not proven to be as beneficial as its supporters would have us believe. The cost of healthcare in Texas has increased at nearly double the national average. Spending has for diagnostic testing has increased as well, far exceeding the national average.

The rate for the state’s uninsured has also increased, making it the current highest in the country. The very issues this reform was brought forth to remedy have fallen flat as the number of doctors per capita has slowed and, in underserved rural areas, declined. The reform was centered on the desire to lower the cost of liability insurance for practicing doctors.  Instead it has had the effect of increasing, and more than doubling, the cost of health insurance in the state.

The tort reform enacted by Texas has failed. It has failed those for whom the system was put in place to help, the patients. The damages caps have the potential to make healthcare less safe. It limits the liability of physicians, which limits their incentive to provide higher care to their patients. It also leaves injured patients being denied their right to a fair trial and just compensation.

We believe in patients’ rights to sufficient recovery for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured due to poor medical treatment please contact us today.

Wooten Kimbrough, P.A.  Orlando Medical Malpractice Attorneys



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