The Baucus bill is bad — but let’s assume for a moment that the president is sincere in asking every health-care stakeholder to sacrifice something for health-care “reform.” Most of the major players (AHIP, PhRMA, etc) have in fact lined up to take a hit (or more accurately, avoid taking a worse hit) and toe the party line.
Conspicuously absent, however, is the plaintiff’s bar, who haven’t been asked to sacrifice a single darn thing. The reason isn’t a big mystery. As Howard Dean said in a candid moment not too long ago, “The reason why tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers.”
In a new report, my colleague Jim Copland takes a look at how Trial Lawyers, Inc. has consistently blocked efforts to craft federal tort reform legislation that would help lower health care costs and reduce defensive medicine. And we’re not talking chump change here: Copland estimates that even conservative tort reform efforts could reduce excess health-care spending by approximately 12%.
In fact, not only have Democrats resisted inserting any meaningful tort-reform provisions into legislation rewiring the health-care sector, they are busy creating new “business” for their donors by inventing brand new ways to sue health-care providers. (Did you already think that you could already sue anyone for anything Not quite, but we’re getting there.)
The lack of any serious attempt to reduce defensive medicine and implement tort reform as part of health-care reform is a glaring weakness of the Democrats’ bills and a sign of how partisan and shortsighted their “reform” efforts have really been.