Doctors need immediate relief from soaring malpractice premiums (Chronicle Sept. 26 article, "House limits patients' malpractice claims"). Reportedly, more than two-thirds of Texas physicians have dipped into retirement funds, gotten a bank loan or taken a cut in salary to pay their rising insurance premiums and keep afloat.
This crisis, coupled with slow pay by health insurers and reduced pay by Medicare and Medicaid, has put doctors through the financial wringer.
Non-economic awards are the biggest component in malpractice verdicts and are the driving force behind skyrocketing malpractice premiums for doctors.
The average non-economic award for a Texas medical malpractice verdict is now $1.3 million -- quadruple what it was a decade ago.
Capping medical malpractice awards does not deny patients their day in court or fair compensation. It merely reins in over-the-top verdicts and allows conscientious doctors to afford insurance coverage and serve their patients.
Michael V. Kelly II, Houston