Policyholders pay premiums in exchange for a promise from their insurance company that claims will be paid in full and on time. Too often insurers fail to hold up their end of the bargain by unfairly denying, delaying, or underpaying valid claims. That’s why strong laws with stiff penalties – like those that have been codified in the Insurance Code for decades – are necessary to deter bad conduct.
Deputy Director Ware Wendell discusses his article “Liberty’s Heart and Lungs” in a three part series on the Seventh Amendment. The first of the three videos focuses on the Founders and their thoughts on the right to Trial by Jury.
Gov. Rick Perry gave his farewell address before a joint session of the legislature today. He touted his record of severely restricting access to legal accountability, pointing specifically to sweeping 2003 legislation that closed the courthouse doors for countless Texans.
Even as he exits the stage, Gov. Perry is a cheerleader for his broken special interest policies that shield polluters, dangerous doctors, makers of dangerously defective products, and big insurance companies from accountability for needless physical and financial harm.
Despite his rhetoric, Perry’s policies have not resulted in better health care, lower insurance costs, or safer communities. Instead, Texas families face new dangers that threaten their physical and financial safety. Whether it is nursing home neglect, junk insurance policies, unsafe toxic chemical facilities, or a host of other looming threats, Texans are less safe.
So-called tort ‘reform’ has never been about helping families. It has always been about protecting narrow interests from accountability.
Texans need real accountability and safety reforms that restore the Constitution’s guarantee of public accountability and ensure all Texans have the ability to thrive in the Texas economy.
As our state’s economy thrives and our population booms, Texas families and communities face new threats to their physical and financial safety. We call on lawmakers to take steps during the 84th Legislature to help Texans thrive in our Texas economy by adopting a Safe Texas Agenda.
“The freedom to raise a family, build a business, and thrive in the Texas economy is only possible if our citizens’ physical and financial safety is protected,” said Alex Winslow, executive director of the citizen advocacy group Texas Watch. “So, priority one for lawmakers should be to adopt common sense steps to put the safety of Texas families and small business owners first.” (more…)
Check out this short video produced by the Center for American Progress. Using personal stories of everyday Texans, it powerfully demonstrates the devastating impact severe restrictions on access to our courts have had on families from every corner of our state. The film features Texas Watch citizen activists, as well as our Executive Director Alex Winslow.
As facts emerge about how Texas Presbyterian Health initially handled the nation’s first case of Ebola, discharging the symptomatic patient into the community, it is important to understand the impact of the Texas law that shields the medical industry from accountability, needlessly threatening patients and the public.
Texas law severely restricts the rights of patents who have been needlessly harmed. Enacted in 2003, the law applies sweeping, arbitrary restrictions on accountability for patient harm caused by careless, negligent medical care. The impact of this law has been that needless harm to countless patients has been swept under the rug. (more…)
In the second and final debate in this year’s Texas gubernatorial race, the candidates were asked to address the problem of skyrocketing home insurance rates.
Watch the exchange. (more…)
Using data from the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare, the Texas Tribune has compiled a searchable database of hospitals quality of care. Patients can learn which hospitals have the highest quality outcomes – and which don’t. The database includes information about ER wait times, surgical complications, hospital-acquired infections, post-dischage readmissions, and overall patient satisfaction.
In other words, use the tool to find out if your hospital is safe.
Access the online database here.
A sharply divided Supreme Court of Texas handed down an opinion today that is devastating for workers exposed to cancer-causing asbestos. In Bostic v. Georgia-Pacific, the Court creates an exceptionally high causation standard for asbestos-related cancer cases, effectively blocking many workers and their families from having their day in court. (See Case No. 10-0775, majority, concurrence, dissent.)
Alex Winslow, Executive Director of Texas Watch, a citizen advocacy organization active on civil justice issues, stated:
“The Texas Supreme Court is closing the courthouse doors for workers who are going to die a terrible death simply because they showed up for work and did their job. This decision breaks the promise of meaningful accountability for workers who, through no fault of their own, were poisoned by asbestos-laden products. In the words of Justice Lehrmann, this opinion ‘does not just offend logic – it offends justice.'” (more…)
Firing up the grill and cooking out is an Independence Day tradition for many families. The smell of hamburgers, steaks, and hot dogs will soon be in the air. But, backyard grilling can be dangerous. Follow a few common sense safety tips so that you and your family can enjoy the holiday to the fullest. (more…)