Texans know tort reform works

The SE Texas Record Oct. 17, 2009, 5:16pm

All educated Americans are familiar with the concept of checks and balances.

They know the federal government is divided into three branches -- legislative, executive and judicial -- each with its own specific powers and responsibilities. Our Founding Fathers believed that each branch would guard its own prerogatives, thereby posing an insurmountable obstacle to a concentration of power that might threaten our liberties.

Then there's our ingenious system of states. Sovereign within their own boundaries, the states are free to offer their citizens as much or as little government as is desired. A healthy competition is thus encouraged among the states, ensuring they remain "laboratories of democracy."

What does this have to do with health care reform?

The surest route to lower health care costs in the U.S. is tort reform -- giving doctors the courage to stop practicing "defensive medicine," while nixing the billions currently diverted from our pocketbooks to trial lawyers, courtesy of endless plaintiff's lawsuits.

In a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt detailed the benefits that his state reaped from tort reform. He also tipped his hat to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

"Texas has seen similar success from its 2003 tort reforms. The number of doctors applying for a license in that state has increased by 57 percent and doctors' insurance rates have declined by an average of 27 percent," he noted. "There are now more doctors in Texas providing care in previously underserved areas."

Texas is one of those "laboratories" and the experiment has been a rousing success.

The medical malpractice tort reform that Congressional leadership is wrongly excluding from their ill-advised healthcare overhaul has already been tested.

Congressional leaders should embrace the effectiveness of tort reform. It's been tried and it works.

Ask any Texan.

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