Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tort Reform Won't Lower Health Care Costs...And... It's Socialism!

A recent article in the Orlando Sentinal summed up this whole health care debate quite succinctly: that the people screaming for medical liability reform are really screaming to have their own rights limited if they are maimed by a preventable medical mistake. And they really don't even realize it.

The reason is quite simple: people think that these "reforms" are simply cracking down on those "frivolous lawsuits" they hear about. What they don't realize is that what is being proposed is an arbitrary, one size fits all "cap" or limit on what malpractice victims can recover even when it's proven that the physician or hospital was negligent!!! This, of course, has nothing to do with getting tough on "frivolous lawsuits."

What is also not being mentioned in this "debate" (more like people screaming rudely at town hall meetings) is that 32 states have ALREADY passed lawsuit caps or limits on lawsuit recovery. So the obvious question becomes: where is the data from The AMA or the insurance industry proving to us that health care costs are falling in these states? If the AMA, the insurance industry, and The Chamber Of Commerce are correct about medical malpractice reforms reducing health care costs, there should be ample data showing that health care costs and premuims are significantly lower in these 32 states, right?

So where is the data? Why is nobody shouting at town hall meetings for this proof? (Could it be that some of these "concerned citizens" were sent by industry groups with bullet points about "death panels" and "socialism," or am I just a tad cynical here???)

And while we're on the topic of "socialism," those opposing health care reform have recently begun to argue that the federal govenmnent has no constitutional right to even pass federal health care reforms; rather this whole issue should be left to the states, they chirp. Yet, out of the other corner of their mouths, these same interest groups are DEMANDING intervention of the federal government in passing federal "tort reform" with the principal argument that your individual rights to hold wrongdoers accountable should be limited "for the good of the whole" so that insurance companies can save money and (certainly) pass all those savings on to all of us. Gee, this sounds like...socialism? Government stay out of health care reform, yet pass federal legislation that limits the rights of all Americans? Perhaps the medical interest groups lobbying for these mixed messages should look up the definition of schizophrenia: "a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements."

Closer to home, in 2003, Ohio passed lawsuit caps/limits on what malpractice victims can recover. So, my fellow Ohioans, six years later, are your health care premuims going down, or are they continuing to rise every year? I think we all know the answer to this. And who's laughing all the way to the bank in states where "reforms" were passed? The insurance companies. They're spending roughly a million a day to lobby for laws that will take away a lot of your rights even in legitimate cases of preventable medical mistakes. And many of you are buying it.

So shout away at your town hall meetings. Just don't shout at me when you call and tell me after all these "reforms" are passed: "I'm not one of those sue happy people but I was legitimately harmed and my life will never be the same and it's not fair that my rights have to suffer because of these laws." My response will be: "You're right, but it's too late. Money, lobbying, misinformation, and public ignorance won---again."

You never know how sweet the water is until the well runs dry...

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