Friday, October 31st, 2014

Debunking Rick Perry's claim about tort reform

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says tort reform brought 21,000 doctors to Texas.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry says tort reform brought 21,000 doctors to Texas.

Ask any Republican candidate about reducing the cost of health care and part of the answer is likely to include rewriting the rules for medical malpractice.  In 2003, Texas lawmakers passed a package of changes to malpractice law, plus the state added a few more through a referendum known as Proposition 12.

These turned the state into a beacon of hope among tort reformers and Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks proudly of the good the changes have done.

When he was asked about medical malpractice at the Politics and Eggs Breakfast in Bedford, N.H., on Aug. 17, 2011, he had some precise numbers at his fingertips.  "I’ll tell you what one of the results was," he said. "This last year, 21,000 more physicians practicing medicine in Texas because they know they can do what they love and not be sued.  Some 30 counties that didn’t have an emergency room doc have one today.  Counties along the Rio Grande, where women were having to travel for miles and miles outside of the county to see an ob-gyn, for prenatal care and now they have that care."

Jon Greenberg, a reporter New Hampshire Public Radio and a correspondent for PolitiFact New Hampshire 2012, checked it out and found Perry was wrong.