[ Friday, March 28, 2003 ]


Somewhat Off Topic: New changes proposed to the medical malpractice liability cap legislation working its way through the Texas legislature would require med mal insurance carriers to reduce rates by at least 15% in exchange for the legislation limiting liability. The proposal before the legislature would limit non-economic damages (pain and suffering) to $250,000. Economic damages (costs of care, lost wages, etc.) would still be recoverable in full; but it is usually the non-economic damages that make up the bulk of the shockingly large jury awards in medical malpractice cases.

Some of those fighting the bill (plaintiff's lawyers mostly, along with some consumer advocacy groups aligned with them) say that runaway juries and outrageous lawsuit awards aren't what's driving up malpractice insurance rates, and that limiting those awards won't lower insurance rates. This proposal sould shut up that part of the argument, but it will be interesting to see if their opposition is dampened by this at all (I'm sure it won't be, since that argument was specious at best). Also, insurance carriers have been pushing for the tort reform legislation, perhaps hoping to keep charging the high rates while reducing payouts. It will be interesting to see if their enthusiasm is dampened by this at all (I doubt it will, since it would make them look hypocritical).

Jeff [9:15 AM]

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