Perry Designates Insurance, Med-Mal Reform as Emergency Issues

January 27, 2003

Gov. Rick Perry officially designated homeowners insurance and medical malpractice reform as emergency issues for the 78th Texas Legislature. The governor’s designation allows state lawmakers to begin work on these issues within the session’s first 60 days.

Perry previously expressed a commitment to make the two insurance issues a priority this legislative session. The governor has vowed to continue working with legislators of both parties to restore fairness to the homeowners marketplace, provide greater incentives for competition and lower rates for Texas consumers.

“Major changes must be made this session in Texas law to enable the state to exercise rate oversight authority over all insurers writing homeowners and automobile insurance,” Perry said. “It is imperative that the people of Texas have insurance regulation that allows the Commissioner of Insurance to address practices where the market has malfunctioned, including the ability to lower rates, stabilize the insurance marketplace, increase competition, end unfair pricing practices, and stop fraud and abuse within the system.”

The governor has attributed the malpractice insurance crisis to growing numbers of frivolous and abusive lawsuits, and escalating damage awards, settlements and legal expenses—all of which drain health care providers’ financial resources and time from treating patients. He noted that 86 percent of medical malpractice claims are dismissed without a payout.

“All across Texas, doctors are abandoning the medical profession because of soaring malpractice rates and the plague of frivolous lawsuits,” Perry said. “If this issue is not addressed soon, the medical malpractice crisis will do lasting damage to the practice of medicine in Texas and undermine the access Texans have to the quality, affordable health care they need.”

Copies of the governor’s messages to the Texas Legislature designating homeowners insurance and medical malpractice reform as emergency issues are available on the governor’s website at www.governor.state.tx.us.

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