Legal Reforms Have Expanded Access to Health Care in Texas
Not long ago, Texas was a hot bed for medical malpractice lawsuit abuse. These abusive lawsuits caused doctors’ liability premiums to skyrocket, driving doctors to close their practices or leave the state. This left many Texas communities without the physicians and specialists they needed. Meanwhile, personal injury lawyers flocked to our state and bragged openly about the big money they could win in Texas courts.
Seeing that something had to be done, Texans demanded reforms that brought common sense and fairness back to our courts. In 2003, they passed Proposition 12, a constitutional amendment to help curb health care lawsuit abuse. Nine years later, it is still delivering on its promise to improve health care for all Texans by keeping doctors where they belong: in the examining room.
Prop 12 ensures that patients who have been injured receive the justice they deserve without having to wait in line behind a slew of questionable lawsuits. At the same time, reforms are balancing justice with our need to continue pursuing medical innovations and treatments that can benefit millions.
What’s more, the ranks of Texas physicians, including critically needed specialists, continues to grow. Data from the Texas Medical Board indicates that in 2001, Texas licensed barely more than 2,000 new doctors. Since the passage of Prop 12 in 2003, Texas has experienced record growth in the number of new physicians in the state -- licensing more than 28,000 physicians since 2003, including many in high-risk specialties.
And in its most recent last fiscal year, the Texas Medical Board licensed a record 3,630 new physicians –about 500 more new Texas doctors than the average over the past 10 years and 70 percent more than in 2001 and 2002, the years prior to the passage of Prop 12. Thirty-six Texas counties that did not have an emergency medicine doctor nine years ago now do.
It’s clear that legal reform works for Texas. Some personal injury lawyers, though, continue to attempt to roll back these reforms by looking for new ways to sue, and lawsuits continue to threaten our health care system. We must remain vigilant against efforts to weaken or roll back legal reform in Texas.
Be sure to ask your candidates what they will do to defend legal reform and help keep doctors in Texas.