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Tort Reform Essay

1377 words - 6 pages

The Impact Tort Reform Had on Texas

The Impact Tort Reform Had on Texas

Course 2314 - Legal Aspects of Health Care Administration

Mr. Barry Goldstein, LNFA, MBA

Gene E. Carson


Table of ContentsIntroduction 3What Is Tort Reform 3Why Tort Reform Was Need in Texas 3-4What Reforms Occurred in Texas 4-5The Effects of Tort Reform 5-6Summary 6-7The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the impact tort reform has had on the health care industry and economy of Texas since it passed in 2003. Supporters of tort reform believe tort reform will lower insurance rates consumers pay to insurance companies because doctors will not have to practice defensive medicine, thus lowering the physician's total cost to practice. Defensive medicine is believed to be running up individuals insurance rates. The reason people feel this way is because doctors are running tests they would not normally run if they were not afraid of being sued and sending patients to specialists for basic care, such as pap smears and mole removals. Proponents of tort reform also believe that tort reform will lower the cost of medical malpractice insurance in the state of Texas and increase the number of doctors willing to practice medicine in Texas.What is a tort reform? Prosser and Keeton on Torts text book defines, a tort as a "civil crime; an act that is illegal, but is not criminal." (Lane, 2003) An example of a tort is an auto accident. Tort reform isn't one single idea or law. Instead, it's a group of ideas and laws designed to change the way our civil justice systems works. While each tort reform law is different, they all are designed to either limit the circumstance under which injured people may sue, limit how much money juries may award to injured people, or both. (Lane, What is Tort Reform, Anyway? A User-Friendly Guide, 2005)Tort reform was needed in Texas for several reasons. The first reason Texas needed tort reform was to lower the cost of medical malpractice insurance. Medical liability insurance costs were sky rocketing out of control from 1995 to 2003. Doctors in Texas were seeing their insurance rates increase by double digits annually. Carriers of medical liability insurance dropped from seventeen carriers to four from 2000 to 2002.The volume of medical malpractice suits was a contributing factor to increasing insurance premiums for doctors. The Texas Medical Association published a study in 2001 that reported six out of every seven, or 86 percent, of medical malpractice claims in Texas were closed with no fault found on the part of the doctor. (McCann, 2007) The American Medical Association put Texas on the medical liability crisis watch list.Texas was suffering from a shortage of doctors statewide. In 2002, Texas saw its applications for medical licenses drop to the lowest level in ten years. In 2003, two-thirds of the counties in Texas did not have practicing obstetricians; sixty percent of the counties did not have any pediatricians. The Rio Grande...

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