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Governor Rick Perry's Radio Address - Tort Reform

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Tort Reform

My fellow Texans:

Medical malpractice claims clog our courts and take doctors away from their primary responsibility of treating patients. Did you know that 86 percent of medical malpractice claims end up being dismissed without a payout?

That's why I made medical malpractice reform an emergency issue this legislative session and put forth a plan to tackle a crisis that threatens to do lasting damage to health care in our state.

A key component of my reform plan - and a part of the House of Representatives' proposal to address this crisis - is a $250,000 cap on subjective, non-economic damages.

More than 20 states already have these caps working in the courtroom, including California, which now boasts the third lowest medical malpractice insurance rates in the country.

Such a cap does not impact actual damages awarded by a jury for real harm that's suffered, but it does remove the incentive to play the lawsuit lottery with our health care system.

As we approach the end of the session, there are efforts to soften this key component to true reform. Any loophole around this cap provides an easy roadmap for trial lawyers looking to bypass reform and head right back to the courthouse. I have no doubt that a definitive cap will bring definitive results.

As House and Senate members work toward a final proposal for my signature, I urge them to truly address medical malpractice reform and establish a solid cap on non-economic damages that will help bring an end to a growing crisis. Doctors in Texas should be able to practice medicine without unfairly being sued for doing their job.

I believe every Texan should be involved in this important issue - one that impacts your doctor, your pocketbook and, ultimately, access to health care for you and your family in your hometown.

By taking action now we will make the practice of medicine more affordable for all Texans while making patient care better and more accessible for the future.

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