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.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.