On Tuesday, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) claimed that “Texas is a national model for improving access to health care because it limited lawsuits against doctors”:
We have created greater access to quality health care in Texas…How did we do it? Well, we passed Proposition 12…So, you have to understand what I mean when I say I want to make Washington, D.C., and the rest of our country more like Texas [because], frankly, we know the policies that actually work.
But Texas, which has the highest uninsured rate in the nation, is hardly a model of “quality health care.” In fact, if the national rate were the Texas rate, 29 million more Americans would lack health insurance.
As the Houston Chronicle points out, “malpractice issues are a small scab on Texas’ ailing health care system. The cancer is the number of uninsured. Increasing the number of doctors and specialties only does so much good when many Texans can’t afford to make an appointment.”
Indeed, despite assurances that malpractice reform would improve access to health care, after voters approved Proposition 12 in September 2003, little changed:
- 25 percent: or 5.6 million Texans are uninsured, the worst rate in the nation.
- 35 percent: of small businesses in Texas offer health insurance.
- 54 percent: of Texans under 65 have employer-sponsored coverage, “8 percentage points below the national average.”
- 48th in health care quality and efficiency: on the Commonwealth Fund’s State Scorecard “avoidable health costs” dimension – a measure that speaks to efficiency within the health care system.
- 1.8 percent: increase in direct care physicians between 2004 and 2006, “which is slower than it was pre-Proposition 12.”
For his part, Cornyn received a score of 0 from the American Public Health Association (APHA) (indicating an anti-public health record), initially voted against legislation that would have blocked a scheduled cut in the reimbursement rates of physicians treating Medicare patients and “was among 18 members of the 100-member Senate who opposed a huge expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”
Unfortunately, Cornyn doesn’t “know policies that actually work.”