Seems that either Bush had bad information - where have we heard that before - or he was lying out of his ass. If I remember correctly, the number Kerry used was 0.5% of the rise in insurance rates for doctors could be traced to so-called "problems" with the tort system. Seems that John Kerry was much closer to correct that Bush. From this morning's Wall Street Journal (subscription):
Last year, after a pitched political battle, Texans voted to amend their state constitution to allow caps on awards for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, in medical-malpractice cases. In most cases, that cap is $250,000.Much like the "Texas Miracle" in school reform, seems that Texas' tort reform is so much smoke and mirrors. While the number one medical insurer in Texas enacted a rate reduction after the reform bill passed, the filing from which the 1% figure is taken was filed by the number two insurer as part of a request for a 19% rate increase. If this gets through the review process, there's no doubt that the top insurer will follow suit.
In a filing with the Texas Department of Insurance seeking a rate increase, Medical Protective Co., an arm of General Electric Co., said the caps would lower payouts by just 1%.
The relevant sentence from the filing: "Noneconomic damages are a small percentage of total losses paid. Capping noneconomic damages will show loss savings of 1.0%."