Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Democrats won’t tell you about Healthcare reform

Namely, that frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits are one of the biggest causes for the rapid rise in healthcare costs. Why won’t Democrats tell you that? Because trial lawyers uniformly back Democrats in order to fight tort reform and maintain their multi-billion dollar revenue stream.

Watchdog site Trial Lawyers Inc. defines the term “tort tax”:

While [aggressive lawsuits have] been a bonanza for Trial Lawyers, Inc., it has been a drain on the American economy and a serious threat to the livelihood and lifestyle of many Americans. America’s tort system costs over $200 billion annually; even assuming that the underlying lawsuits have merit, much of this cost is wasteful and excessive—at least $87 billion, according to the president’s Council of Economic Advisors.

The overall cost of this “tort tax” on our economy over the next ten years will be more than $3.6 trillion... almost triple the size of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts combined.

Meritless lawsuits:

...Trial Lawyers, Inc.'s medical-malpractice lawsuits are legion: of the 46,000 members of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 76 percent have been sued at least once, 57 percent at least twice, and 41.5 percent three times or more. And the litigation industry tends to file far more cases than actually have merit: nearly half of malpractice suits — 49.5 percent — are dropped, dismissed, or settled without payment. Indeed, in a study of medical-malpractice cases filed against New York hospitals, the Harvard Medical Practice Group found that in the majority of medical-malpractice claims, the plaintiff exhibited no medical injury whatsoever; the plaintiff was injured by doctor negligence only 17 percent of the time.

The High Costs of Malpractice Liability:

So if Trial Lawyers, Inc.'s suits against doctors are wide-ranging, and often meritless, just how much do they cost? By 2003, medical-malpractice liability costs in the United States had reached an astounding $26 billion annually. That staggering sum represents a 2,000 percent increase over costs in 1975. At 12 percent per year, the growth rate in medical malpractice costs since 1975 is four times the rate of inflation and twice the rate of medical-care inflation.

In jury trials, million-dollar verdicts are now the norm. Fifty-two percent of all awards exceed $1 million while the average award now weighs in at $4.7 million...

The Investments:

...PAC donations from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA)—Trial Lawyers, Inc.'s government-relations "home office"—are perennially among the nation's highest to the Democratic Party.[224] Democrats receive 93 percent of ATLA's contributions, which helps explain why every Democratic senator opposed the president's medical-malpractice reform bill in the last Congress.[225]

PAC gifts, however, only scratch the surface of litigation-industry giving, which Trial Lawyers, Inc.'s leaders and their firms bundle and distribute directly to candidates. Senator John Edwards's presidential campaign was almost wholly funded by the lawsuit industry..

Ann Coulter adds:

...the Democratic Party treats doctors like they're Klan members. They wail about how much doctors are paid and celebrate the trial lawyers who do absolutely nothing to make society better, but swoop in and steal from the most valuable members of society.

Maybe doctors could get the Democrats to like them if they started suing their patients.

It's only a matter of time before the best and brightest students forget about medical school and go to law school instead. How long can a society based on suing the productive last?

(Has anyone else noticed the nonexistence of a charitable organization known as "Lawyers Without Borders"?)

[My ex-roomate, now a Doctor] makes $380 for an emergency appendectomy, or one-ten-thousandth of what John Edwards made suing doctors like her, and one-fourth of what John Edwards' hairdresser makes for a single shag cut.

Edwards made $30 million bringing nonsense lawsuits based on junk science against doctors. To defend themselves from parasites like Edwards, doctors now pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical malpractice insurance every year.

If we're going to reform healthcare, I’d suggest we start with the trial lawyers and cap every single form of medical malpractice lawsuit.