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Tort Reform in Texas a Failure, Report Says

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A press release by Public Citizen says that the report, “A Failed Experiment: Health Care in Texas Has Worsened in Key Respects Since State Instituted Liability Caps in 2003,” has shown that the imposition of medical liability caps in 2003 has not reduced medical costs or curbed the use of expensive diagnostic tests, and that health care is less available and has become more expensive when compared to national averages.

Since Texas instituted its liability limits:Per-enrollee Medicare spending in Texas has risen 13 percent faster than the national average;

  • Medicare spending specifically for outpatient services in Texas has risen 30.7 percent faster than the national average;
  • Medicare diagnostic testing expenditures in Texas have risen 25.6 percent faster than the national average;
  • Premiums for private health insurance in Texas have risen faster (51.7 percent) than the national average (50 percent);
  • The percentage of Texans who lack health insurance has risen to 24.6 percent, solidifying the state’s dubious distinction of having the highest uninsured rate in the country;
  • The per capita increase in the number of doctors practicing in Texas has slowed to less than half its rate in the years leading up to the caps;
  • The per capita number of primary care physicians practicing in Texas has remained flat, compared to a sharp increase in the years leading up to the caps; and
  • The prevalence of physicians in non-metropolitan areas has declined.

“Despite the sales campaign to promote Texas as an exhibit of the merits of limiting doctors’ liability for mistakes, the real world data tell the opposite story,” said Taylor Lincoln, research director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and author of the report. “Health care in Texas has become more expensive and less accessible since the state’s malpractice caps took effect.”

Added Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office, “This report shows that the rest of the nation should not hold up Texas as a model. The only winners in Texas are the doctors and the insurance companies.” disclaimer: This article: Tort Reform in Texas a Failure, Report Says was posted on Friday, October 14th, 2011 at 6:14 pm at and is filed under Medical Malpractice Lawsuits.

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