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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pelosi's Treat For Trial Lawyers, Trick For Everyone Else

The folks at the Big Government blog have found a provision buried in the almost 2,000 page healthcare bill that is treat for the lawyers and a trick for the rest of us:

Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.

So, you can’t try to seek alternatives to lawsuits if you’ve actually done something to implement alternatives to lawsuits. Brilliant! The trial lawyers must be very happy today!

Is this the type of tort reform that Obama promised back in the September speech in front of Congress, or did Nancy Pelosi try to sneak an Easter egg for her trial lawyer buddies?

There isn’t any specific number that can be attributed to tort abuse, but most believe the savings to be in the billions, if there were actual tort reform included in the health reform bill nationwide. Alas, this is not exactly the kind of reform that will be needed to drive down costs. By taking away the states’ right to limit lawyer fees or to put caps on how much can be won by the plaintiff, if they win the case, it could only raise medical costs and insurance premiums not lower them.

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