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Monday, March 17, 2014

A LESSON FROM FLORIDA: WHY WE HAD TO PASS PROPOSITION 12

Eleven years ago, when TMA and the physicians of Texas won passage of landmark health care liability reforms, we knew that enacting a strong new law — while great — wasn’t enough. We had won similar reforms in 1977, but then we watched the Texas Supreme Court overturn them as unconstitutional. While TEXPAC has since been an instrumental force in helping to throw out those activist judges, we knew that success at the ballot box can wax and wane. That’s why we insisted on a constitutional amendment — Proposition 12 in 2003 — that ratified the legislature’s authority to enact caps on noneconomic damages. That’s why we organized physicians across the state to get out the vote and help pass Proposition 12 by a narrow margin. And that’s why Texas doctors and your patients continue to enjoy the healthy benefits of our reforms. We remind you of all of that as we share the unfortunate news that the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a 2003 state law limiting damages in medical liability cases violates the Florida Constitution. Florida did not amend its constitution. We did. Tell that to your nonmember colleagues the next time they say our fight against health care lawsuit abuse is old news. And tell them to join TMA.

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