Reforms have restored our health care

By The Record | Sep 24, 2018

“You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

You don’t hear that aphorism much anymore, but it’s still true, even if it isn’t really about flies. No, it’s about hospitality and kindness. The point is that you’ll be more successful in life if you’re friendly rather than hostile.

Of course, you catch flies to get rid of them, but other things you catch to keep – like doctors, for instance.

For years, Texas offered vinegar to doctors and – surprise, surprise – they relocated by the hundreds to states that offered honey.

Finally, we got smart. Reforms enacted in 1995 and 2003 stopped the exodus of doctors and spurred an influx instead, insurance rates went down, frivolous litigation decreased, and our state economy soared.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the 2003 reforms enacted by Proposition 12, the constitutional amendment capping non-economic damages in medical liability lawsuits.

“The results achieved by Proposition 12 are nothing short of impressive,” says D’Anne Buquet, executive director of Bay Area Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA). “When you look at how health care access has improved dramatically over the past 15 years, it’s clear that Proposition 12 has delivered on its promise.”

Roger Borgelt, member of the board of CALA of Central Texas, agrees. “Back in 2003, the rate of physician licensure was shrinking not just relative to the booming population, but also in absolute terms,” he recalls. “This put a dangerous strain on the state’s medical resources as the population grew rapidly. Since then, we’ve seen annual physician licensure more than double.”

Sergio Contreras, president of the Rio Grande Valley CALA, also concurs.“Besides the obvious health care benefits, lawsuit reform has relieved our civil justice system of thousands of questionable lawsuits, making the system more efficient for those plaintiffs with legitimate grievances,” he observes. “But we need to sustain and protect those gains as we move toward a future where all Texans have even greater access to the medical care they deserve.”

We’re more likely to do that with honey than vinegar.

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