Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Does Tort Reform Create Jobs?

For those unfamiliar, tort reform is politicians passing laws limiting your right to bring a lawsuit and limiting what you can recover due to someone else's negligence. Standing directly behind these politicians, like a hand on a shoulder, are special interest groups who "lobby" (I use that term lightly--think $$$$) for passage of these laws. The players? Liability, medical malpractice, and health insurance companies, medical groups, The Chamber of Commerce, and about 287 other well heeled (think $$$ again) groups. Their premise? Cutting down your individual rights is good for you, and good for all of us, because it creates jobs.

It's a simple mantra: less lawsuits means more jobs. Nice and "bumper stickery." The other day I found this link searching the "Internets" where the Governor of Mississippi is claiming that after tort reform measures passed there, 41,000 jobs were created. How he specifically tied this to passage of tort reform laws is unclear. It's like saying that Captain Crunch makes the sun shine because I ate it for breakfast three days in a row and then the sun came out, but let's take The Governor at his word and accept it as true.

Well who cares about Mississippi? What about Ohio? Let's review. In 2003, Ohio pols passed "medical malpractice reform" and now we have caps on damages ranging from $250-500,000 for people who win their case and prove in court they've been injured due to medical negligence (Note: there IS no cap for wrongful death medical claims because The Ohio Constitution forbids it).

Not to ignore the "lobbying" of other corporations who got in line after the 2003 reforms, in 2005 Ohio pols passed "general tort reform" for ALL types of Ohio personal injury claims. Those caps range from $250-350,000, with exceptions for certain catastrophic injuries.

We've had almost a decade now of a burlap sac of "legal reforms" in Ohio. And we're not alone with just our like minded Miss. friends. Over 32 states now have "caps" on damages that limit what those maimed and injured can recover in a lawsuit.

So where are all the Ohio jobs that were supposed to flood into our state after these reforms? Where are all the decreased health insurance premuims in Ohio? Where are the lowered health care costs and lower medical bills?

If the "tort reform means more jobs" premise is true, the economies of 32 states should be booming right now with an explosion of jobs and low unemployment rates, right?

How is this "let's trade your rights for jobs" premise working? Anyone? Pass the Captain Crunch please. It's getting cloudy here in The Buckeye State.....

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