Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter makes clear what he doesn’t like about the status quo of the U.S. healthcare system in his July 31st squib, “What’s Not to Like?.” In dismissing Republican calls to cap malpractice awards, Alter contends that “nothing happened” when such reforms were recently passed in Texas. This is patently false.
A study done by the Perryman Group last year found that the legal reforms Texas passed in 2003 have been a boon to the Lone Star State’s healthcare system. Analysis shows that these reforms yielded a 70 percent reduction in the number of lawsuits filed against hospitals in just the first year, a decrease in medical liability insurance rates by an average of 20 percent, 430,000 additional Texans with health insurance, and increased options resulting from an influx of 10,878 new physicians. The study also concluded that the reforms were directly responsible for an 8.5 percent growth in the state’s economy. In fact, in 2006 Texas became the first state to be removed from the American Medical Association’s list of states experiencing a liability crisis.
States have long been seen as laboratories of democracy where new policies can be tested. Results from Texas show that caps on malpractice awards and other liability reforms deserve more consideration on Capitol Hill than Mr. Alter lets on.
To view ATR’s guide to medical tort reform, click here.