Here we go again. The guys we put into office to stop government from playing games are playing more games in Washington.
According to Politico, on Tuesday, Texas Congressman Lamar Smith is going to try and attach the medical malpractice tort reform bill to another bill in the House Judiciary Committee.
The excuse being used is to try and get the alleged $46 billion in savings that would come from the bill. Those savings are about as credible as Obama’s claims he saved so many jobs.
Federal Tort Reform is unconstitutional. It is a bad idea.
But let’s ignore that for a moment.
If the GOP really wants to get some savings out of government, I have three letters to suggest to them.
The Government Services Administration.
You remember GSA. They were the one’s who blew a million dollars on the Las Vegas; well all you can really call it is a party. They sent some of their people to Hawaii for a one-hour ground breaking on yet another useless and unneeded federal building. Of course, for their one-hour of work they had to spend five days on Hawaii’s Islands at the taxpayer’s expense.
Anyone remember the angry, smoking clown? He was featured in the GSA videos the employees made for fun. He should be the face of government waste.
The real reason Lamar Smith wants to go after tort reform is to punish the trial lawyers who have been strong contributors to the Democrats.
Lamar Smith thinks he should use his committee chairmanship to punish political enemies. Funny, I thought we put the Republicans in charge to solve our problems.
If Lamar Smith wants to find savings for the Paul Ryan budget, then here is an idea. The Government Accounting Office has identified hundreds of billions of dollars in waste, fraud and duplication of services. How about going after that?
That would deliver savings greater than the phantom $46 billion that tort reform is not going to deliver.
And how about the GSA?
After what we have seen in the last week, that Agency should be abolished. It should not just be cut, it should be abolished.
While a few sacrificial lambs have been shown the door and have at least temporarily left government service, does anyone expect that agencies budget to be cut by even a dollar?
There are some immediate savings we could start with right there.
Instead, Lamar Smith wants to play the usual Washington game. He wants to use his position to punish those he disagrees with, pass legislation that is every bit as unconstitutional as Obamacare, while ignoring the real issues of out of control spending that we face.
Perhaps we could ask him to pretend he is a conservative. At least for a little while?
THE "RULES" THAT WE ALL ABIDE BY DO NOT APPLY TO THE "FRATERNITY OF 545, INC. IN WASHINGTON, DC !!
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WY WE HAVE TOLERATED THEIR ABUSES OF "US" FOR ALL THESE YEARS !!
WHY DO NOT OUR 50 STATE GOVERNORS & LEGISLATURES "REPRESENT US" AGAINST THE "FRATERNITY OF 545 INC. IN WASH, DC? WHAT ARE THE 50 STATE GOVERNORS......"POTTED PLANTS" ??
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Judson: Seriously, are you sure you know anything about the cost of excessive and frivolous lawsuits to the healthcare industry and passed on to us in much higher costs? I think that you would be better served blogging about something that you have some semblence of knowledge. Tort reform must be part of any healthcare insurance solution. Together with higher co-pays, tort reform could go a long way toward bringing our healthcare costs within reason.
Actually I know much more about it than you do. I've seen a lot of things in my legal career, including dr.'s who performed procedures drunk, made minor mistakes, like taking out the wrong kidney and that kind of frivolous stuff.
Explains a lot, Judson. Didn't know that you were sympathetic for ambulance chasers until now. Also, as part of Medicare expense containment, tort reform would be appropriate. If you want to get rid of Medicare to prevent Feds from getting their fingers into your income stream, then you should say so. I would be for state control of Medicare including receiving the funds set aside for the system and taking it out of the hands of the federal government even to the point of replacing it within their respective state with a better market based system. Would you then be for that? If so, then I am fine with the states being in control of actions to reduce fraud and waste including Tort reform or no Tort reform.
Agree with the rest of your post, but you have now ruined your credibility with me as an arbitor for healthcare issues.
As a retired physician, I can assure you Tort is necessary. But as Judson says, NOT at the Federal level.
What never ceases to amaze me is why everyone wants to keep sending more and more of their tax dollars to that giant Black Hole called Washington and then allow them to "redistribute" it BACK to the States?
The government argues that a "single payer" will lend competition to the insurance companies. Let's just assume that is the case, not that it is because it's just another power grab by the Federal government. If ONE payer can create competition, why wouldn't 50 States all able to sell insurance across state lines, not create much more? The same argument can be used for Tort. If 50 States are allowed to create a common affordable legal platform that will reduce the cost of defensive medicine, as the system learns and improves from these efforts, we all win.
Now, remember, there is one giant obstacle to significant Tort. Lawyers. Sorry Judson, I only call it as I see it. When you require 2-3 attorneys, at $100-$300 an hour, and a stenographer to take an hour or longer deposition, costs go up. Who pays those costs? The consumer of course.
Tort is a problem, but so is $200 billion to $250 billion in waste, fraud, abuse and corruption in our health care system. So is not allowing insurance companies to trade across State lines. So is not protecting the "lockbox" or not repealing Medicare payroll taxes. So is not allowing the creation of vouchers for the poor in Medicare or letting people opt out rather than mandate payment. I can go on, but you get my point.
The disease we call government health care is, as is any disease, multifactorial. Tort is a significant part, but not in the Federal governments hands.
Wow! You are so right on. If health care (Medicare, Medicaid and all federal programs for health care) are not turned back to the states, how can you have effective tort reform except at the federal level? Please God, take our health care out of the federal government's hands and put it back in the hands of individuals, doctors and individual state's hands.
Well, first of all, we seem to "ass-u-me" that the natural state of things is that adequate medical treatment and healthcare will be available to all and will be available for a PRICE that is affordable to individuals or at least to society in general. Why do we assume such? Never in the history of mankind has that been true, not even when the healthcare treatment that was available may have been more hazardous to health than the ailment that was supposedly being treated.
But--The good news is: There really is a way to bring about a dramatic reduction in the PRICES that are being paid for healthcare and do so in a way that doesn't violate The Constitution as well as does nothing to violate anyone's rights. But will politicians ever do it and do it right. Hah!!!! Read on and see what you think.
If governments would find ways to keep the COSTS-of-governments from being dumped into the operating COSTS of the healthcare delivery system in exchange for money from the system revenue streams that is being paid to governments in the form of taxes, fees, fines, etc., and employ the stategy of helping to control system COSTS rather than like the idiots who they are, trying to control PRICES while at the same time increasing system COSTS by increasing taxes and fees in order to generate more revenue so they can then use the additional revenue to pay the higher PRICES* that governments are driving higher by driving higher COSTS* into the system.
*Is that enough to start you thinking of costs and prices being two different things. Well, hang with that mode of thinking for a few minutes.
COST-of-goverments that have been dumped into the medical treatment and healthcare delivery system make up more than half of the PRICES that are being paid by consumers or by the third parties who are paying the PRICES. And stop just a minute and think this one through: What percentage of the health insurance premiums that are being paid get used to pay taxes and/or fees of some kind to some government somewhere? Don't forget that the premium revenue is used to pay insurance company employees' wages and salaries including the taxes paid there-on as well as all of the different kinds personal and household taxes (some that people don't realize they are paying) that are paid using the so-called "after tax income".
Now, I have to laugh to keep from crying on this one: Governments are paying, either directly or indirectly, an ever-increasing percentage of the ever-increasing PRICES for medical treatment while at the same time the ever-increasing COSTS of all of the taxes and fees of all kinds that are being collected from the system and from the employees of the system to be used to help pay the ever-increasing aggregate PRICES are the primary COST drivers that are driving the ever-increasing PRICES that governments are paying.
Are lawsuit awards and the cost of liability insurance driving system COSTS higher resulting in higher PRICES: Sure.
IT IS NOT OUR HEALTHCARE THAT WE, THE PEOPLE CANNOT AFFORD. IT IS OUR 27,000 OR SO OVERLY NUMEROUS, OVERLY LARGE, OVERLY COSTLY GOVERNMENTS: LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL THAT ARE NO LONGER AFFORDABLE.
Oh, and please show me in the Constitution where it authorizes the Federal Government to tell state governments how they must operated. Somehow, I missed that around the 10th Amendment.
That pesky little thing the Constitution get in the way of may things, doesn't it.
Notice he did not answer this part.
Tort reform is a state by state issue. Bring this up with your state.