The ‘Cuda Driving The Debate Fm Facebook – This Time On Tort Reform


Sarah Palin is calling for Tort Reform to be the hallmark of any kind of health care reform:

President Obama’s health care “reform” plan has met with significant criticism across the country. Many Americans want change and reform in our current health care system. We recognize that while we have the greatest medical care in the world, there are major problems that we must face, especially in terms of reining in costs and allowing care to be affordable for all. However, as we have seen, current plans being pushed by the Democratic leadership represent change that may not be what we had in mind — change which poses serious ethical concerns over the government having control over our families’ health care decisions. In addition, the current plans greatly increase costs of health care, while doing lip service toward controlling costs.

We need to address a REAL bipartisan reform proposition that will have REAL impacts on costs and quality of patient care.

As Governor of Alaska, I learned a little bit about being a target for frivolous suits and complaints (Please, do I really need to footnote that?). I went my whole life without needing a lawyer on speed-dial, but all that changes when you become a target for opportunists and people with no scruples. Our nation’s health care providers have been the targets of similar opportunists for years, and they too have found themselves subjected to false, frivolous, and baseless claims. To quote a former president, “I feel your pain.”

So what can we do? First, we cannot have health care reform without tort reform. The two are intertwined. For example, one supposed justification for socialized medicine is the high cost of health care. As Dr. Scott Gottlieb recently noted, “If Mr. Obama is serious about lowering costs, he’ll need to reform the economic structures in medicine—especially programs like Medicare.” Two examples of these “economic structures” are high malpractice insurance premiums foisted on physicians (and ultimately passed on to consumers as “high health care costs”) and the billions wasted on defensive medicine.

Dr. Stuart Weinstein, with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, recently explained the problem:

”The medical liability crisis has had many unintended consequences, most notably a decrease in access to care in a growing number of states and an increase in healthcare costs.

Access is affected as physicians move their practices to states with lower liability rates and change their practice patterns to reduce or eliminate high-risk services. When one considers that half of all neurosurgeons—as well as one third of all orthopedic surgeons, one third of all emergency physicians, and one third of all trauma surgeons—are sued each year, is it any wonder that 70 percent of emergency departments are at risk because they lack available on-call specialist coverage?”

Dr. Weinstein makes good points, points completely ignored by President Obama. Dr. Weinstein details the costs that our out-of-control tort system are causing the health care industry and notes research that “found that liability reforms could reduce defensive medicine practices, leading to a 5 percent to 9 percent reduction in medical expenditures without any effect on mortality or medical complications.” Dr. Weinstein writes:

“If the Kessler and McClellan estimates were applied to total U.S. healthcare spending in 2005, the defensive medicine costs would total between $100 billion and $178 billion per year. Add to this the cost of defending malpractice cases, paying compensation, and covering additional administrative costs (a total of $29.4 billion). Thus, the average American family pays an additional $1,700 to $2,000 per year in healthcare costs simply to cover the costs of defensive medicine.

Excessive litigation and waste in the nation’s current tort system imposes an estimated yearly tort tax of $9,827 for a family of four and increases healthcare spending in the United States by $124 billion. How does this translate to individuals? The average obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) delivers 100 babies per year. If that OB-GYN must pay a medical liability premium of $200,000 each year (which is the rate in Florida), $2,000 of the delivery cost for each baby goes to pay the cost of the medical liability premium.”

You would think that any effort to reform our health care system would include tort reform, especially if the stated purpose for Obama’s plan to nationalize our health care industry is the current high costs.

So I have new questions for the president: Why no legal reform? Why continue to encourage defensive medicine that wastes billions of dollars and does nothing for the patients? Do you want health care reform to benefit trial attorneys or patients?

She goes on to write that in Texas, after enacting caps on lawsuit awards against providers, malpractice claims dropped 41%.

Texas Gov. Perry:

In 2003, I declared the medical liability crisis an emergency item, and the legislature responded, passing sweeping reforms that protected the patient, but also shielded doctors and hospitals from unscrupulous trial lawyers eager to make a quick buck at the system’s expense.

We capped non-economic damages at $250,000 per defendant, or up to $750,000 per incident, while placing no cap on more easily determined economic damages, such as lost wages or cost of medical care due to injury.

We ended the practice of allowing baseless, but expensive, lawsuits to drag on indefinitely, requiring plaintiffs to provide expert witness reports to support their claims within four months of filing suit or drop the case.

These measures were supported by the people of Texas, who in September of 2003 approved a ballot measure, Proposition 12, authorizing all of these changes.

Changes were seen immediately, and continue to be felt. All major liability insurers cut their rates upon passage of our reforms, with most of those cuts ranging in the double-digits. More than 10 new insurance carriers entered the Texas market, increasing competition and further lowering costs.

As a result, Texas doctors have seen their insurance rates decline by, on average, 27 percent.

The number of doctors applying to practice medicine in Texas has skyrocketed by 57 percent. In 2008, the Texas Medical Board received 4,023 licensure applications and issued a record 3,621 new licenses.

In all, in just the first five years after reforms passed, 14,498 doctors either returned to practice in Texas or began practicing here for the first time.

In her own state of Alaska they enacted the “losers pay” rule which most certainly deters frivolous claims.

So why is it that Congress and Obama hasn’t even addressed Tort reform? Well, lets take a look at Trial Lawyer contributions:

An Examiner analysis of the 15 firms on the National Law Journal’s “2008 Plaintiff’s Hot List” shows that for 2009, their employees have contributed $636,305 to federal politicians and PACs. Only $4,875 of that amount has gone to Republicans, meaning that the nation’s top trial lawyers are giving more than 99 percent Democratic this year. The PAC for the American Association of Justice, the top trial lawyer lobbying group, has been marginally more balanced, giving Democrats a mere 96 percent of its $627,000 in contributions.

Oh, and then add on the fact that many of our elected politicians in Congress are attorneys themseves and you can now understand why they don’t do a damn thing about it. Because their greedy, grubby hands are deep in the pocket of these lawyer associations and they don’t want to do anything to piss them off.

But keep going Sarah! She is driving the debate from Facebook and forcing these yahoo’s to answer.

More here.

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Those “opportunists” she is talking about are among the biggeest contributors to the Democrat Party. Dems will NEVER allow any MEANINGFUL tort reform. Oh, they may come up with some slicked up amendment called tort reform but it will not fix the problem that is driving doctors like my father to give up practice just when you need every physician we have.

You are absolutelty right Mike. I am a Hispanic Jew and cannot be more of a minority than that. Yet, a Greek lawyer and fervent democrat friend of mine called me a “racist” because I did not vote for the radical president. Now, he is complaining that there is no business…and actually said to me that I “might be right”. Yes, lawyers are the largest supporters of the Democratic party but some of them are starting to realize that without Tort Reform, the system will collapse. Imagine if I were to sue every person that has called me names or discriminated against me at work!. There is a lot of ignorance out there and thanks to Sarah Palin and other brave individuals, we can bring an intelligent debate to the table, rather than marxist rethoric which we all know, it doesn’t work.

Hi Mike,
I agree with you. I like Sarah and all the people who are willing to confront the Marxist rethoric that doesn’t work.

Isn’t that a big guv’ment proposal? I mean, she wants the feds to regulate damage awards in personal injury cases in 50 states. She wants the feds to control what private citizens acting with their own lawyers and within valid state laws can do. She wants the government to determine the maximum value of an injury or wrongful death. How about that for “death squads.”

Tort reform is deader then George Washington. Trial lawyers are the base of the Democratic Party. This is why they must destroy Sara Palin, she makes to much sense. She says things, the Republican Party is afraid to say. We have 535 congressmen and senators that are “medical wonders”, no brains, no guts and no backbone.

The total cost of medical malpractice insurance in the USA is about 1% of the total cost of healthcare. States that have placed caps on payouts have not shown any decrease in the premiums that doctor’s must pay. The myth that tort reform will lower costs is lame. And the largest contributors to the Democratic Party are not trial lawyers. They are financial companies/groups. Here is a list. My favorite is Bain Capital which Mitt Romney co-founded. Smart money always contributes to who is going to win, not to whom they would LIKE to win Currently about 60% of the total US healthcare costs are being paid by the US government.

If we ever want to reverse some of these outrages in 2010 and 2012, some states need to be working on cleaning up problems with their voting systems. I was just reading the Rasmussen report for today, and when the Republican Georgia primary for governor was being discussed, they mentioned that it was an “open” primary. I was reminded of how Republicans were invited to vote for Obama in the Democratic primaries last year. The Democrat for a day and open primaries were abuses of the system.
Then we had caucus thuggery, busing of non-residents, polls hours scheduled during the normal work day only, etc. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard that any of these problems are being addresses in the states affected.

My comment caught in spam?

The total cost of medical malpractice insurance is about 1%. However, defensive medicine — with the goal of preventing law suits — comprises as much as 10% of the total cost of American health care. One study puts the average annual cost of defensive medicine as high as $2,000 for a family of four. Estimates range between $100-$178 billion per year of defensive medicine costs.

Edwards’s career tied to jury award debate

Why John Edwards Is Responsible For More Unnecessary Operations Than “Greedy Doctors”

Cash Bar – How trial lawyers bankroll the Democratic party


My doctor is one of the victims of this legal malpractice.

Sadly, my doctor’s enemy was a lawyer of the MEDICAIRE.

It was because of my father’s condition and our doctor’s recommendation for my father to try a more costly medicine.

In the end, the doctor (and my family) lost to that scumbag lawyer.

My father was technically denied of a possible medical service to prolong his life and both the doctor and my family suffered.

I join Sarah’s call for TORT Reform.

Today for the first time in my life in America, I just got free antibiotics at my local supermarket . Evidently, Pharma is giving out “free” medicine to people as an introduction and enticement to a new state of” Free Medicine”. Anybody with a similar experience? Maybe it is a placebo…

Uri, ever been approached by a street dope dealer. The first taste is cheap or almost free…
Just the words I heard from a retired Deputy US Marshall that lives down the road from me up in Big Sky Country.

Without TRUE Tort Reform any Health Care Restructuring is worthless.

Tort reform is a necessity to reduced medical costs. I have a family member who quit 30+ years of medicine due to the number of frivolous lawsuits brought against him, and his increasing medical malpractice insurance costs. He’s now drinking himself under the table and destroying his marriage due to his depression. Not to mention the financial hardship that he and his wife are suffering. And the patients in his small community that he cannot afford to serve.

Not only do we need tort reform, we need to have the gubmint (yeah, right) clean up all the waste, fraud and inefficiency that are rampant in the current health plans – Medicare & Medicaid. Oh, and while we’re cleaning, get the Congress to pay back all that they have ‘borrowed’ fro mSocial Security.

I can’t believe that any sane person can look at the massive boondoggles that the gubmint ‘runs’ and then believes that they are going to do better with national health care.

It’s time for the states to start standing up to these clowns and tell them to take a hike!

Yo see what the admin is doint to the Insurance companies??? Demanind all sorts of information that they are NOT entitled to. That is UNLAWFUL according to the Constitution… oh yeah, I forgot… that’s outdated anyhow! My Bad!

I find no end to the enjoyment in listening to the whining about how stupid Sarah Palin is while at the same time she is able to define the argument and make Obama respond to her.

Of course she is right. Cutting off the number of test docs can do while not effecting tort reform will make them sitting ducks for plaintiffs attorneys.

You will not be able to even find a doctor who speaks English and those who do practice will have go naked.

@Plain Jane
You are right about busing voters from out of state … another old Chicago trick. Many “new” voters from Illinois are sent to Wisconsin (esp Milwaukee) and in Indiana to vote … people joke about it in Chicago just like the unfunny Chicago voter motto, “Vote early and vote often.”

If we do not control this illegal activity, and additional Chicago style antics such as using names from cemeteries to register voters, going through and “registering” incapacitated citizens, no longer requiring proof of residency (no state id or driver’s license), and more…we will not be able to elect officials. They will be chosen by Team Chicago, ACORN, SEIU, and other members of this anti-democratic movement.

Bi-partisan monitoring and possible audit of the mid-term 2010 elections must be established in each community. We also need to make it clear that voter intimidation will not be tolerated by the American people — such as the documented incidences in Philadelphia in 2008.

We must all stay involved in the US political process…beyond the 2009 awakening of Americans.

Think things are bad now? You ain’t seen nuthin’

@uri: You have a friend who may be ready to admit he made a mistake in voting for Obama? There are more and more of those people every day. Obama’s approval rating in the polls is already below the margin of votes he got in the election.

Yeah, this woman is totally stupid. Right!!!.. She sure has the dems on the run…from facebook yet. It is no wonder I support her. I agree with everything she has said so far. She is a true American. It really galls me the way the GOP has treated her. They have someone with charisma in their sights and still want Romney. Sarah is a phenomena that does not come along every day. The way she could draw crowds was outstanding and if anyone thinks McCain would not have lost by a landslide if she was not on the ticket has rocks in their head. But the GOP doesn’t want her. She didn’t go to the right colleges, etc. She doesn’t use the right mealy-mouth comments. I hope she runs and wins the nomintion. I will certainly vote for her. I guess what the GOP wants is another apathetic campaign that loses like McCains. That seems to be all they know.

I worked for trial lawyers for some years and got turned off them big time. They are the most callous people I have ever come across. Really full of themselves. The managing attorney at the firm I worked for told me that if tort refrom went through they would lose 3/4 of their client list. So, you know they will fight tort reform tooth and nail. They always have. He also said that dems were good for trial lawyers and republicans were bad. I’ll agree with that.

Let’s be real for a minute. Everyone knows this tort reform nonesense won’t do anything to lower costs. They’ve already done it in Missouri and a few other states, and health insurance premiums have still risen at alarming rates just like the rest of the country. And everyone also knows this isn’t really about lowering costs at all. It’s about the conservative vendetta against Democratic supporters – trial lawyers. Just the same way conservatives are against Card Check. They don’t give a crap about secret ballot elections for unions they just want to make it harder for unions to form by any means necessary.

@ Dirty Sanchez

No, you really don’t get it, do you. Conservatives really do care about seeing people, any people, badgered to vote in an open (non-secret) ballot. Isn’t the potential for abuse there evident to you, doubly so given the sterling quality of the union folks involved? The people are not at all above intimidation; that is one of their standard tools. Most conservatives, I should say all conservatives, simply think that is flat wrong, no matter who it is happening to.

Further, we don’t have a vendetta (to use your term) against the trial lawyers. We do, however, recognize that they play a zero sum game in which the only people who always profit are themselves. The lawyers always make out like bandits in every lawsuit, win or lose. Someone else always loses. Most of these issues could be settled without lawsuits, and many of them simply need not be issues in a more reasonable society that was not intent on making money out of accidents.

So, Dirty, as I said in the beginning, you really don’t get it.

Information on tort reform and how it has benefitted the states that have enacted it:

How Tort Reform Works

Why Doctors Are Heading for Texas

In the filter, P&T