Health Policy Question

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JC2

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after doing some research on health care tonight...

Why hasn't tort reform been passed?

Who, exactly, is preventing this from happening?

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after doing some research on health care tonight...

Why hasn't tort reform been passed?

Who, exactly, is preventing this from happening?

There are a lot of lawyers in government and they create rules to enrich themselves.
 
In a nutshell, the legislators in Washington and Obama and their lawyer friends.
 
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it seems so obvious to me that tort reform is needed. anyone else?
 
it seems so obvious to me that tort reform is needed. anyone else?

Lawyers enjoy making more laws so that the system becomes so complicated that only lawyers are able to understand it. The lawyers in a sense create the demand for their services. Do you think lawyers will abandon this practice for the benefit of society? No.

A small government is good government. A government for lawyers only becomes tyrannical.
 
I guess it depends on what you mean by tort reform.

In Oregon a few years ago, caps on noneconomic damages failed even when the public directly voted on it:

http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Oregon_Health_Care_Damage_Limit_Measure_35_(2004)

And here were the published arguments against it:

http://oregonvotes.org/nov22004/guide/meas/m35_opp.html

Seems the AARP was opposed, and they advocated for alternative dispute resolution. I think arbitration would do more to help the problem by eliminating contingency and court fees, but I really don't see how a half million dollar limit on non-economic damages would be problematic. Though I'm opposed to noneconomic damages in general...

Americansmadandangry.org was also against it, whoever they are. A family doctor wrote in against it. Firefighters did too. An economist pointed out that states with caps have no difference in healthcare spending. I suppose he might be right, as the insurance companies would be more likely to convert the savings to profit. Teachers and nurses unions were against it...

Oh yeah and the guy who had his penis removed by mistake was against it...

Other groups that believe in the absolute right to jury decisions, and of course trial lawyers.

I don't agree with them, but it's helpful to read the other side. Unless you meant something else when you said tort reform..
 


Lets not forget that a Republican administration coupled with a Republican controlled Congress did nothing about tort reform as well. It's not one party or the other. No one is pushing for it.

Plus, there are lots of ideas for tort reform. Which one is the best one to choose?
 
Exactly what would tort reform reform? The more and more I think about it, we can't reform the lawsuit situation any more than states like Texas have without taking away rights from patients. It seems like the real problem is an oversupply of greedy and black-hole-esque trial lawyers. I don't think caps would work because doctors would still practice defensive medicine even if you set the cap as low as being sued for $50,000 for a death. The problem is that anyone who has a slight suspicion that they have been wronged by their doctor has 3 lawyers ready on a moments notice. Real tort reform would somehow get this country to have only enough lawyers for the TRUE malpractice cases.
 
Real tort reform would mean banning contingency fees and having the plaintiff pay for the defendant's legal fees if the defendant wins.
 
What about some kind of reform in malpractice insurance or more regulation? I don't hear that spoken of much.
 
Real tort reform would mean banning contingency fees and having the plaintiff pay for the defendant's legal fees if the defendant wins.

I would think that would unfairly disadvantage low-income plaintiffs. Then you just have lawsuits rationed based on income.
 
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I would think that would unfairly disadvantage low-income plaintiffs. Then you just have lawsuits rationed based on income.

The solution is quite simple. Have the lawyers charge lower fees for poor clients and charge higher fees for rich clients.
 
Fair enough. Is it possible lawyers would not take cases in which the plaintiff is economically disadvantaged? Monetary incentive drives the legal world so I don't know.
 
Fair enough. Is it possible lawyers would not take cases in which the plaintiff is economically disadvantaged? Monetary incentive drives the legal world so I don't know.

yes. i agree with you. but to play devil's advocate... there are plenty of free legal services organizations (both civil and criminal) in the world. i should know-- i work at one of them.
 
Exactly what would tort reform reform? The more and more I think about it, we can't reform the lawsuit situation any more than states like Texas have without taking away rights from patients. It seems like the real problem is an oversupply of greedy and black-hole-esque trial lawyers. I don't think caps would work because doctors would still practice defensive medicine even if you set the cap as low as being sued for $50,000 for a death. The problem is that anyone who has a slight suspicion that they have been wronged by their doctor has 3 lawyers ready on a moments notice. Real tort reform would somehow get this country to have only enough lawyers for the TRUE malpractice cases.

If it really were that low, then malpractice suits would go down because lawyers work on contingency fees. That is precisely the reason it is the rich who sue for malpractice. Their lawyer stands to gain more from it because the lost wages of somebody making a million a year can net a huge contingency fee while a poor person cannot.

I think we need to take medical injury disputes out of the courts to the largest extent possible. Juries do not have the expertise to decide such technical cases, and 54 cents of every dollar paid to victims goes to lawyers and courts. Have patients sign a contract saying they will opt out of jury trials and use binding no-fault medical injury arbitration instead. It would have to be non-binding if, for whatever reason, they can't sign, because of the 7th Amendment.
 
because obama's biggest supporters are trial lawyers. it's no secret that trial lawyers lean heavily democrat. john edwards himself rose to prominence as a trial lawyer.

obama's very smooth. "i understand your concerns for tort reform"

and stops at that lol.

keep drinking the cool aid.
 
Fair enough. Is it possible lawyers would not take cases in which the plaintiff is economically disadvantaged? Monetary incentive drives the legal world so I don't know.

well, that's the beauty of the contingency fee. the client's economic status is irrelevant if the attorney believes the case is strong enough to return a favorable verdict with large non-economic damages

as for public legal agencies - criminal ones do not do civil suits (they are almost exclusively public defense agencies) and civil ones usually have mission statements that do not include pursuing cases in order to win large damage awards from tortfeasors. and even if they wanted to, they couldn't afford to. expert witnesses are expensive and most of these witnesses do not work on contingency (the attorney pays them up front or else hourly on an ongoing basis during the course of the litigation)
 
linkin06: Why haven't Republicans made headway on tort reform? It never seemed to be on the agenda when they controlled the White House and Congress. It's not a one way street.

LiveUninhibited: That's interested about arbitration. Can arbitration decisions be appealed? Wouldn't you want an expert panel as well?
 
linkin06: Why haven't Republicans made headway on tort reform? It never seemed to be on the agenda when they controlled the White House and Congress. It's not a one way street.

LiveUninhibited: That's interested about arbitration. Can arbitration decisions be appealed? Wouldn't you want an expert panel as well?

I'm not LiveUnhibited, but I'll answer anyway...an arbitration decision cannot be appealed (though you may ask to have it vacated by a court if you can show the arbitrator was biased), that's the whole point of arbitration. if the arbitration is non-binding, the decision is not legally enforceable; if the arbitration is binding than the winning party can have the judgment enforced by a court if necessary
 
linkin06: Why haven't Republicans made headway on tort reform? It never seemed to be on the agenda when they controlled the White House and Congress. It's not a one way street.

LiveUninhibited: That's interested about arbitration. Can arbitration decisions be appealed? Wouldn't you want an expert panel as well?

Binding ones cannot, non-binding ones can. Ideally they would all be binding but you run into the Bill of Rights. Thus the patient would have to sign a contract to agree to binding arbitration in the even of medical injury. A law may need to be passed to establish these special panels. If non-binding the patient could go to court if unsatisfied with arbitration, but then whatever they were awarded in arbitration would need to be subtracted from a court decision. Noneconomic damages should simply be cut out of the equation, and that would reduce the incentive to try go on to court even when non-binding.

There would be three purposes to using arbitration. 1. Better decisions on whether medical injury even occurred due to the expert panel. The decision would be made by an expert panel who have no stake in the matter, so it could not be an internal investigation only. 2. There is less overhead so more money would either go to the victim or be saved for healthcare as opposed to the legal system. 3. It is a context where the physician has less of a need to be defensive and deny any wrongdoing, so that even if they weren't grossly negligent the quality of the care they and/or their institution offer can continuously be improved. Litigation tends to make people go, "I didn't do it." Not, "That's unfortunate. Could anything have been done better?"
 
linkin06: Why haven't Republicans made headway on tort reform? It never seemed to be on the agenda when they controlled the White House and Congress. It's not a one way street.

LiveUninhibited: That's interested about arbitration. Can arbitration decisions be appealed? Wouldn't you want an expert panel as well?

perhaps if bush even tried to take it on, he'd have just been shouted down. he tried to reform Social Security only to be trashed by dems.

why speculate on the past when we can talk about the now. facts are obama will not bring tort reform -- he's said it clearly.
 
Oh yeah, now even the inactions of Bush can be blamed on Democrats. Wow. Nice.
...

so when bush's attempt at reforming social security completely failed, he was supposed to say, hey maybe democrats would be willing to go after tort reform? democrats aren't for it now. why would they support it then?

clearly the problem here is democrats, not republicans.
 
No, the problem here is that you're trying to blame Democrats for something that neither party has truly made strong efforts to change in the last decade. You blame the Democrats, but the point is that BOTH parties are to blame, as it's a debate that's been raging under Republican AND Democratic administrations. You have to be intellectually honest at some point about that, regardless of your party affiliation.
 
No, the problem here is that you're trying to blame Democrats for something that neither party has truly made strong efforts to change in the last decade. You blame the Democrats, but the point is that BOTH parties are to blame, as it's a debate that's been raging under Republican AND Democratic administrations. You have to be intellectually honest at some point about that, regardless of your party affiliation.

i look at it by seeing who is impeding it. maybe both parties have not advanced it tremendously, but democrats have impeded any efforts of reforming it.
 
Lets not forget that a Republican administration coupled with a Republican controlled Congress did nothing about tort reform as well. It's not one party or the other. No one is pushing for it.

Plus, there are lots of ideas for tort reform. Which one is the best one to choose?
Actually, at this time, it really is the Democrats holding it up.

Say what you want about the past, but healthcare reform wasn't as big of an issue in the recent past as it is now.
 
...

so when bush's attempt at reforming social security completely failed, he was supposed to say, hey maybe democrats would be willing to go after tort reform? democrats aren't for it now. why would they support it then?

clearly the problem here is democrats, not republicans.


So basically, you're saying that the only way reform in any major issue can happen is either when there is a "republican president + republican-controlled congress" or a "democrat president + democrat-controlled congress".

Of course, the democrats are in control of the congress right now, but let's assume that it was republicans who had control of the congress. Do you think Obama would have said, "well there's nothing I can do now since these republicans won't pass anything and i'll veto anything they pass that i don't agree with?"

Even if you don't like Obama, I'm sure you know that wouldn't happen. It is the president's job to work with congress to try and find a good middle ground and get the support of the majority of congressmen. Not just sit back and spend all his time golfing since "the democrats/republicans aren't going to support it anyway" Clearly, GWB wasn't interested in finding middle ground. It was either his way or his way. And when Obama tries to reach out to the GOP, all he gets is hostility. The GOP needs to actually have some ideas instead of just saying "NO" to every one of Obama's ideas.
 
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