Our View: Texas tort reform has proven itself

The SE Texas Record Oct. 29, 2013, 9:49am

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. That’s assuming anybody still says that.

People used to say it all the time. Whenever someone speculated about how something or other might turn out, someone else was sure to say the proof was in the pudding. 

You don’t hear it much anymore, though, perhaps because pudding’s not as popular as it once was and hardly anybody understands exactly what the proof is and why you’d put it in the pudding in the first place (unless, of course, it’s bread pudding with rum sauce).

The phrase originated as “the proof of the pudding is in the eating,” which simply meant that you had to try it to know if it was any good or not.

This, essentially, is what Nancy Pelosi meant when she said that Congress would have to pass Obamacare so that everyone could know what was in it.

Now that we’ve proved that pudding with our first taste of the repellant gruel, a giant, collective “Yuck!” can be heard across the land.

Texans, of course, are much better chefs than the swill cooks in Washington. When we make a pudding – or a chili – we do it right. A pudding we made in Texas 10 years ago turned out pretty darn good.

“A decade ago, the landmark tort reform bill called House Bill 4 was enacted following months of debate,” wrote Richard W. Weekley, founder and CEO of Texans for Lawsuit Reform, in a Washington Examiner op-ed piece last week.

“After a bruising legislative battle against forces backed by personal injury trial lawyers,” Weekley recalled, “legislative leaders commented that ‘history would decide’ whether this comprehensive civil justice reform effort would prove to be good for Texas.”

We had to pass it to know what was in it, so to speak. Now we know. The evidence has been overwhelming.

In 2003, the Texas Medical Association reported that Texas had one of the lowest doctor-to-citizen ratios in the U.S. That’s because one in four had a malpractice claim filed against them every year, 85 percent of which failed but still cost more than $50,000 to defend. Texas Medical Board Statistics show we had 2,561 physician applications received in 2003. Last year-- that number was 4,253, up 66 percent.

Meanwhile, since August 2012, Texas employers have added 274,700 new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s tops in the U.S. and 13 percent of all jobs created nationwide. There are 661,000 more Texans employed today than when the U.S. recession began in Dec. 2007. That’s vs. 1.9 million fewer nationally.

And the future looks bright.  Moody’s Analytics reports that Texas will see annual future job growth of three percent, second best in the U.S. (to Arizona).

Our pudding has proven itself. You won’t hear any yucks around here. Just yums. Everyone’s clamoring for more. History has decided.

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