In 2003, the Texas Legislature passed sweeping liability reforms to combat health care lawsuit abuse, reverse skyrocketing professional liability insurance premiums, and ensure Texans’ access to high-quality medical care. Texas voters then approved Proposition 12, a constitutional amendment that ratified the legislature’s authority to impose these important reforms.
By all measures, the reforms have worked exactly as promised. Patients have better access to needed and timely care. More physicians provide specialty and high-risk obstetrical and emergency care in both urban and rural areas. Physicians enjoy lower premiums and a more competitive liability insurance market.
Sick and injured Texans now have more physicians who are more willing and able to give them the medical care they need. The state now has more than 21,000 new physicians to take care of Texas patients. Many of these physicians practice high-risk specialties such as emergency medicine, neurosurgery, pediatric intensive care, and pediatric infectious disease medicine. Patients now can get more timely and convenient care when they are sick or injured.
We must protect the existing laws. The reforms are good for Texas and good for Texas patients.
Medicine’s 2011 Agenda
- Protect the 2003 health care liability reforms, including caps on noneconomic damages and protections for emergency services.
- Expand the Texas Medical Board’s jurisdiction to include physicians' testimony in liability cases regarding appropriate standards of medical care.
- Twenty-two rural Texas counties have added at least one obstetrician since the passage of Proposition 12, including 10 counties that previously had none.
- The emergency care provisions have saved lives by helping ensure Texas patients have access to critical and timely care. Twenty-three rural counties now have at least one emergency medicine physician, and 18 counties added their first ER doctor. We must preserve Texas’ emergency care provisions so the threat of a frivolous lawsuit doesn’t harm Texas’ emergency room care.
- The 2003 liability reforms have worked. They’ve lived up to their promise. Sick and injured Texans now have more physicians who are more willing and able to give them the medical care they need.