In 2003 doctors, insurance companies and state leaders sold the voters on a constitutional amendment putting new restrictions on medical malpractice claims filed by "greedy" trial lawyers. That supposedly has improved the health care climate for doctors.
But their patients, including the physicians' own employees, continue to get whacked with rising health care premiums.
Just last week, a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that Texas ranked third among the states in health insurance premium increases -- 40 percent -- from 2001 to 2005. Small wonder that Texas continues to lead the nation in the percentage of residents -- about one-fourth -- without health insurance.
There is little state regulation of health insurance in Texas, but the Legislature will get another opportunity to do something about it next year, when the Texas Department of Insurance is up for sunset review.
Expect a big fight, with doctors and insurers, former allies in the so-called "tort reform" coalition, squaring off against each other.
The health insurance squeeze hit close to home for the Texas Academy of Family Physicians when it received a policy renewal notice for its 11-member administrative staff in Austin.
Its insurer, a leader in providing group coverage in Texas, raised the academy's premiums by 23 percent, prompting the medical group to pick a plan (with higher employee deductibles) from a competing company.
Tom Banning, the academy's CEO, said frustration worsened when administrators learned that only 74 percent of premiums they had paid to the former insurer had been spent on medical care.
The remainder went to the insurer's administrative costs and profits.
Seriously. This would be hilarious if the joke weren't on the rest of us.Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 06, 2008 to Show Business for Ugly People