Others find signs of progress, however, including a sharp increase in the number of doctors receiving licenses, widely attributed to "tort reform," restrictions the state imposed on lawsuits. In addition, Perry-supported efforts have made it easier for small businesses to join together to buy insurance and reduce costs.
"Under Governor Perry's leadership, we have continued to address in a reasonable way the ever-increasing health care needs that Texas has," said state Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, who is an anesthesiologist.
Texas has seen an increase in the number of doctors in the state, which Perry and many doctors attribute to the 2003 approval of a constitutional amendment limiting jury awards in medical malpractice cases. The Texas Medical Board issued 2,088 physician licenses in 2001. In 2008, it issued 3,621 licenses.
In his 2005 State of the State address, Perry touted the impact of the constitutional amendment. "Doctors are returning to areas once deemed high-risk, hospitals are seeing double-digit declines in their insurance costs, and patient access is improving because the personal injury trial lawyers are no longer calling the shots when it comes to Texas' health care," Perry's prepared remarks said.