The conservative blogs have been replete with a sometimes rewrite and other times straight copying of a Washington Times piece about the gift trial lawyers received in the recently passed Senate healthcare bill. It usually goes along the line A) trial lawyers own the Democrats B) Democrats passed the bill and C) trial lawyers must have written the thing and gained billions.
First, trial lawyers don’t own the Democrats. Compare the amount of money given to the overall money spent in campaigns and it’s a drop in the bucket. Compare it to what health interests, insurance companies, and the U S Chamber gives and it’s really not a match. Then throw into it what those groups spend on lobbying and national advertising and it’s really David vs. Goliath in political spending. Yes, trial lawyers are big contributors and more Democrats are getting that money, but which of those guys who got up and trashed the civil justice system would you give money to?
Second, the bill was passed by Democrats, but there really was one maybe two Republicans who were going to vote for any bill. The bill itself was bipartisan when you look at the different types of Democrat senators it took to get this passed. A number of those senators have in the past voted for what they believed was reasonable tort reform.
Third, there was no real gift in this bill. Sure, if you consider that Republicans were looking at shutting the courtroom doors, limiting the cases of those most injured, and in a hat tip to Socialism to limit the attorney fees, then it had to be a gift that trial lawyers weren’t tarred and feathered. That’s Tiger Woods giving his wife a gift by not adding two more girlfriends.
The reality is that a good plan looks at what works. Seeing that a state like Minnesota has low premiums, low number of case filings and excellent overall healthcare and maybe looking at that as a national solution does make some sense. But, that would involve members who are looking at really passing a bill and not just trashing lawyers to raise money from the U S Chamber and to taint the jury pool.
Make no mistake, these attacks are all out affronts to your constitutional rights. The States Rights issues that Kay Bailey Hutchinson and the Republican attorney generals sought to use to stop the bill are the same State Rights that they don’t seem to care about with national tort reform. The money given to politicians who protect consumer rights are important. It’s costly, but I can assure you there is very few powerful interests that care about them.
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.