Tort Reform and Healthcare Reform

It’s well-documented that tort reforms have had a positive impact in the medical malpractice environment by reducing the number of claims filed. An opinion piece in yesterday’s Washington Examiner by Texas Governor Rick Perry makes the case for why tort reform should be part of healthcare reform. Governor Perry describes the healthcare crisis that mired Texas back in 2003 when increasing litigiousness led doctors and their insurers to leave the state. He then describes how the Texas legislature turned the situation around by passing medical malpractice reforms – such as a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages – that protected the patient but also shielded doctors and hospitals from costly lawsuits. Earlier in June President Barack Obama told the annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA): “I’m not advocating caps on malpractice awards, which I personally believe can be unfair to people who’ve been wrongfully harmed, but I do think we need to explore a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first, how to let doctors focus on practicing medicine, how to encourage broader use of evidence-based guidelines.† Whether and how tort reform becomes part of healthcare reform remains unclear at this stage, but insurers have a stake in this debate. Check out I.I.I. information on medical malpractice.

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