Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chupacabra Report

-News that Gets My Goat

The one-page editorial section of today’s Houston Chronicle Lite has, along with a single editorial touting Rice’s first place quality-of-life rank from The Princeton Review, a column from The New York Time’s Thomas Friedman, two letters, and a Bible verse; a column from former Texas Rep. Joe Nixon entitled “Plaintiff’s bar following wrong path.”

In it Nixon decries the trial attorney’s “big government agenda,” for a “country founded upon the principle that individual rights are greater than the rights of government,” that “Congress is leading us away from the rights of individuals” with their “affiliation with the liberal agenda.” He states that our system “centers on the rights of the individual to be protected in his person and property,” but that “public officials now advocate increasing the rights of the state by diminishing the rights of the individual.”

-Sheesh! I’ve read and re-read this thousand word piece and still can’t make out what he’s trying to say. He seems to be using some newfangled random jargon generator. I think it’s about the rights of individual insurance companies, and of insurance companies in general. He finally states that limits on medical malpractice awards in Texas have cut doctor’s malpractice insurance rates in half, although the Texas State Insurance Dept. says the figure is 25%, and the New York Times reports a 21% decrease. Not a word about how Texans harmed by medical malpractice now have trouble getting compensation because attorneys are reluctant to take on these expensive cases for a cut of a maximum award of $250,000.

You see Joe Nixon, before he was fired by Texas voters, was the representative from the insurance industry. He wrote the 2003 tort reform bill that restricted access to the courts and limited malpractice awards. He served as counsel for the Utica Lloyds of Texas Insurance group. (Legislators are sought for legal teams because they can get you an automatic court stay while the Lege is in session.) In 2002, Nixon received a $300,000 settlement on a mold claim from Farmers Insurance while he was carrying legislation to help insurance companies deny mold claims!

If The Chronicle wants to let Joe Nixon shill for the insurance industry, they ought to label it a “paid advertisement” like they do those ads for Amish Fireplaces or The Franklin Mint.


At 6:57 PM , Blogger judge chief charly hoarse said...

Let's enact real reforms
In a recent opinion piece, former lawmaker turned lobbyist Joe Nixon claims that “common sense reforms” advocated by the insurance and medical industries have improved our state's health care climate (“Plaintiff's bar following wrong path,” Page B9, Monday).
I'm not sure what data Nixon is looking at or if he's just relying on insurance lobbyist talking points, but every independent report shows the exact opposite.
When the insurance and medical lobby was bankrolling the campaign to strip patients of their legal rights back in 2003, they promised dramatic improvements in the cost, quality and access of health care in our state.
What has happened? Health care costs have risen dramatically in Texas, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; AMA statistics show that we rank lower in per-capita physicians; rural and underserved areas continue to struggle to attract new physicians; and Texas continues to have the nation's highest rate of uninsured.
So much for Nixon's “common sense reforms.” The reality is that none of this has been or ever will be fixed by taking away the legal rights of patients or their families. Unless we move beyond the insurance industry's talking points and enact real reforms that protect patients, strengthen safety standards and restore accountability, we will continue to be plagued by an inadequate health care system that does more for insurance companies than it does for patients.
Executive Director, Texas Watch, Austin

At 7:25 AM , Blogger judge chief charly hoarse said...

Shameless hypocrisy

REgarding “Plaintiff's bar following wrong path” (Page B9, Monday), it is with shameless hypocrisy that Joe Nixon makes ringing statements in support of individual rights, fair courts and access to justice when the hallmark of his legislative career was an omnibus law limiting Texans' individual rights more than ever before in Texas. Nixon's “common-sense approach” to civil justice in medical negligence cases provides immunity to doctors and hospitals from full accountability for medical negligence. Nixon's tort reform movement promised Texans better health care at a lower cost in exchange for their individual rights. It is clear from the recent exposé “Dead By Mistake” that the promise has been broken. There has been no greater governmental intrusion into every Texan's life than the so-called “common-sense approach” to civil justice. With each passing year more Texans are harmed without a remedy, and more Texans realize that this “common-sense approach” is nothing more than politicians' favoring insurance companies and corporate special interests over individual rights. Nixon wrongly asserts that the national health care debate is about individual rights versus “government rights” (Nixon's made-up term). The issue is individual rights versus insurance-company profits and corporate special interests. The plaintiff's bar will continue to fight to protect the individual rights of every American.

— Donald H. Kidd, president, Houston Trial Lawyers Association


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