Saturday, October 31, 2009

So Much for Tort Reform

For those people like me who thought that we would never see tort reform, a great big pat on the back for being right. However, the House bill does with the subject of tort reform, and if passed will kill it once and for all.

From The Moderate Voice:

I first saw this item noted by Jennifer Rubin and she quickly sent me scrambling to dig back into the bill. You see, the bill includes one section with the hopeful sounding title, “Medical Liability Alternatives.” (This is section 2531, found on pages 1431 through 1433 of the bill. For the record, if you follow that link you’ll have access to the entire bill, courtesy of the NY Times, in an easily browsed format for those of you who do not wish to download the entire thing in a pdf file.)

From the title and the initial description, you might be tempted to think that the bill was going to address tort reform, at least on some level, by offering an incentive to states who set up alternate methods of handling malpractice litigation.
Here are the offending passages:

(4) CONTENTS OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICAL LIABILITY LAW. – The contents of an alternative liability law are in accordance with this paragraph if -

(A) the litigation alternatives contained in the law consist of certificate of merit, early offer, or both; and

(B) the law does not limit attorneys’ fees or impose caps on damages.
Here's the scam:

The individual states are free to pass their own tort reform but if the tort reform limits attorney fees or imposes caps on damages the states will forfeit federal dollars. So, the federal government will take money from the taxpayers and give it to the states so long as they behave themselves and leave the trial lawyers alone to earn massive settlements (and fees) which in turn, drives up the cost of health care and health insurance. What do you want to bet that in turn, there will be far more medical malpractice suits when the plaintiff is covered by private insurance than there will be for those covered by the public option? Viola, the Dems reward their buddies (and donors) the trial lawyers while the cost of private insurance continues to rise and the cost of the public option is kept down.

Who is playing politics with our health care now?

More at:

Hot Air
Gateway Pundit
Left Coast Rebel


Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

Kindly explain how we can have tort reform without caps or limiting attorneys' fees? What a joke. My state, Ohio, isn't eligible for incentives since we were smart enough to enact tort reform already. For this wise move, Pelosi punishes us. See under Legal Quality category.

Carol said...

Dr. Kirsch, we can't have meaningful health care reform without tort reform. So long as doctors are forced to practice defensive medicine, and lawsuits are allowed to flourish, insurance costs will continue to rise.