NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 17, 2009

Ten years ago, Texas faced a shortage of doctors.  One of the main reasons was the high amount frivolous lawsuits and jackpot justice.  By enacting much-needed medical liability reform, that is starting to change and the state is now going in the right direction, says Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Agriculture and Budget Committees.  

What works in Texas can work in Washington, according to Cornyn. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees:

  • The federal government would directly save about $5.6 billion dollars from the types of reforms enacted in Texas, and that total health care spending could be reduced further if these reforms reduced the practice of defensive medicine.
  • Other academic studies have concluded liability reform could save between 5 and 9 percent of health care costs.
  • These reforms will also increase access to health care, especially to high-risk medical specialties.

Last week, the President embraced medical liability reform.  Since the President supports it, and Congressional Republicans support it, then we should be able to get it done, right, asks Cornyn?

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean summed up the apprehension on the opposing side of this common-sense solution when he said "the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers."  Those "people" are the Democrats in the United States Senate and House of Representatives.  Moreover, the only people who haven't been asked to sacrifice for health reform are the trial lawyers, says Cornyn.

Medical liability reform can't solve all the problems in our health care system -- but no health care reform bill will ever be comprehensive without it.  Congress now has the opportunity to reach the same conclusion, and take the steps that have proven successful in Texas and many other states, says Cornyn.

Source: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), "The need for medical liability reform," The Hill, September 15, 2009.

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