Medical Expenses Have Risen, Not Fallen, Since Tort Reform

A law review article written by noted law professors M. Paik, B. Black, D. Hyman, and C. Silver has debunked the tort reformers’ argument that the draconian 2003 caps that severely limited our right to recover damages would achieve valuable cost savings. Two of the authors are Republicans, by the way.

In 2003, Texas legislators artificially put a cap on the maximum damages an injured patient could receive if he had been the victim of medical malpractice payout at $250,000. That’s not much in a serious case. Lawmakers also made these lawsuits harder to bring by requiring the patient spend a great deal of money to hire a doctor in the same area of specialty as the defendant to testify and he had to furnish an incredibly detailed report within 120 days or the patient would have to pay the hospital’s or doctors (often enormous) legal fees.

“We . . . find no evidence of reduced spending in Texas post-reform, and some evidence that physician spending rose in Texas relative to control states.
the article concluded. “This is not a result we expected,” said one of the authors.

So the conservatives, who claim to believe in minimal government interference in people’s lives, enacted various tort “reform” proposals that closed the courthouse doors to those victims seeking justice?

And they passed restrictive laws protecting big business and insurance companies but health care costs in Texas have actually gone up?

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