Reading my Texas Medical Association email update I found the following heartening, and disheartening, news (full text):
Montemayor Rejects JUA Rate Hike Request
An attempt by the Texas Medical Liability Insurance Underwriting Association, also known as the Joint Underwriting Association (JUA), to increase its professional liability premiums was turned down last month by Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner Jos? Montemayor. The commissioner said the rate proposal did not adequately consider the effect of Proposition 12 on future anticipated losses.
JUA wanted to raise premiums for physicians by 35.2 percent and for hospitals by 67.9 percent. In September, Texas voters approved the TMA-backed Proposition 12, a constitutional amendment that ratified the legislature’s authority to set limits on noneconomic damages in medical liability cases.
“I am very troubled that any carrier of medical malpractice insurance would consider raising rates for Texas physicians,” the commissioner said. “This rate filing by the JUA flies in the face of sound data that demonstrate future rates should be dropping as a result of passage of Proposition 12. . . . With the Texas Medical Liability Trust already agreeing to lower its rates, it seems illogical that any carrier would consider doing otherwise.”
TDI is examining the rates of all regulated professional liability carriers in Texas to determine if they have accounted for the effects of Proposition 12 in their premiums. “Texas consumers expect that passage of Proposition 12 should bring rate relief to Texas physicians,” Commissioner Montemayor said. “Any future rate that comes before TDI should reflect these savings.”
Gov. Rick Perry praised the rate hike rejection. “With the passage of Proposition 12, Texans expect medical malpractice insurance rates to drop, and any request for a rate increase should be met with severe skepticism by the Department of Insurance,” he said.
Well, now. We got tort relief, and some of the insurers wanted to raise doctor rates 35% and hospital rates 68%! What?
I said it earlier and I’ll say it now, step one is tort reform, step two is Insurance reform. And a big thanks to a nameless bureaucrat who now has a name, Jose Montemayor!