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What a day of gotcha statements by the voices of big business and the health insurance companies. They are all excited about Howard Dean’s statement at a town meeting that so-called "tort reform" isn’t going to be in the health insurance bill. This should be no surprise to anyone that has listened to Dean over time or to anyone that has looked at the issue with any honesty. The thing is, all of these voices of the opposition don’t care about the truth, they just want to continue to beat the drums and keep pushing health care reform (and Obama)toward a political Waterloo.

Let’s look at what Dean said. Basically, he said that the author of the bill wouldn’t allow tort reform in, and blamed it on the political influence of the trial lawyers. Well, if he was an unbiased person that didn’t support tort reform anyway, you might be able to see that as a some great revelation. But this really isn’t much different than a number of things he’s said in the past. Sure, he has toned it down at times, but the reality is that Howard Dean has always favored limiting patient’s access to the courts, aka "tort reform."

The reason that tort reform isn’t in the bill is because it is such a small part of the system. Liability and malpractice costs are a tiny splinter of overall medical and health insurance costs. There are so many other places where health care can be significantly reformed that can make a huge cost difference, but health insurance companies might lose money. So the Right takes a page from the old Bush/Rove hymnal …. Let’s all turn to page 362 and sing, "Attack the Trial Lawyers."

Now if we looked at a state such as Minnesota which has expert affidavits and meaningful statutes of limitations, there’s a starting point for an honest discussion about what can be done nationally. As always, there are issues with state rights that need to be considered. But with Minnesota’s low number of filings and low malpractice premiums, those seem like better ways to look vs. arbitrary caps that steal the individual’s constitutional rights.

There are a number of great posts here at the Injuryboard talking about defensive medicine and who really profits from that. Also discussions about how Texas is now filling up with questionable doctors that because of the cost benefit analysis that is being used to limit the liability of unsafe medicine. It is time for a real discussion about making health insurance work for everyone. Time to stop the partisan garbage and move this along for the consumer.

12 Comments

  1. Interesting informnation, Michael! Thanks for takling the time to point out what is really being said.

  2. Gravatar for Daniel 8791

    Byahhhh. What the hell, Howard Dean ? This IS a very interesting and informative article. Good for you Mike, for writing the truth.

  3. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    Dean has done a number of good things, so I didn't write this to attack him. I just was bothered by the "gotcha" garbage from the land of the made up death panels. We need honest debate on this issue. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  4. Gravatar for Deryl Robinson

    I trust you lawyers the least of anyone in the system. I think there's no tort reform because you're too powerful and would get hurt too bad.

  5. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    Really? That's unfortunate, but all we can do is talk about what the real issues are. There is tort reform and the question is whether consumers are better because of it? The proof is that they aren't. Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment.

  6. Gravatar for Steve Lombardi

    Deryl: You think tort reform is fair? Do you really believe there is no tort deform because lawyers just don't want it? Not even close. Tort reform seems like a good idea until you think about it and how it affects those who are injured or killed because someone else is too busy texting to pay attention to their driving. Or too drunk to know the car they are about to run head-on into has a family of six in it. Here I can prove to you that you haven't thought enough about it and when you do you'll know it has nothing to do with how powerful the lawyers are. It isn't the lawyers at all, but what they say about what is right and fair. Let me prove it to you. Let’s say you’re in a car accident and your spouse or children are either dead or have broken limbs, shattered spines, brain damage and maybe a hand or leg amputated. Think about how that will affect your life. Now, just tell me which of your rights you would like to have tort reform take away? I’ll await your answer. And please have your spouse and children proof read it and sign off on those rights being eliminated and the financial burden placed squarely on the survivors. Tort reform only works if it's the other guy's problem. I wish I were as powerful as you think I am.

  7. Gravatar for Andrew J. Barovick
    Andrew J. Barovick

    Given the emotional instability Dean has exhibited in the past, his "fear of trial lawyers" comment should be taken to apply to Dean alone. He does not speak for all Democrats.And, look whose talking. A doctor. Maybe he has reason to fear us.

  8. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    He has spoken for the party in the past and did temper himself at times, but the main point is that he has always talked like this is some form. It's not great revelation. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. After the last eight years and the crushing of consumer rights, Steve is correct.

  9. Gravatar for Mike Bryant

    Are you suggesting that Lawyers are the only ones with a financial interest in any of these discussions? We know that's not true. If by cash cow you mean representing those that are injured and need our help? Well, because it's wrong takes those Constitutional protections away from you or any other consumer. I'm sure your just asking a rhetorical question to not really be answered, but it's what I do for people every day and I like many of the writers here, believe strongly in protecting those rights. We have always been open to do more then just snipping, but instead are fully ready to enter a open debate on the issues. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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