Political Malpractice

by The West Virginia Record |
Sep. 4, 2009, 11:40am

Suppose you had a sore throat, a skin rash, and cancer -- and your doctor put you through a massive battery of tests and procedures for the sore throat and rash but ignored the cancer.

If your doctor obsessed over minor ailments but neglected the serious threat -– that which could cripple or kill you -– then you'd have reason to question his competence or his sanity. That's essentially the approach being taken by Congressional proponents of health care reform.

They're micromanaging details but ignoring one of the biggest problems: frivolous lawsuits. These suits contribute substantially to rising health care costs as doctors are forced to carry enormously expensive insurance policies and practice defensive medicine, with the result being that bright young people are discouraged from entering the medical profession.

Medical malpractice tort reform is an obvious solution: caps on jury damage awards, caps on attorneys' fees, more stringent standards for expert witnesses, statutes of limitations for initiating malpractice suits, etc.

Whether they're competent and sane or not, the political promoters of Obamacare are definitely scared of trial lawyers. We have that on the authority of a doctor: Dr. Howard Dean, former Democratic governor of Vermont, former Democratic candidate for president, and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

At a recent town hall meeting in neighboring Virginia, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Moran was asked why tort reform was not on the table. Dean happened to be on hand and answered the question for him with refreshing candor.

"When you go to pass a really enormous bill like that, the more stuff you put in it, the more enemies you make," Dean said. "And the reason tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everybody else they were taking on, and that is the plain and simple truth."

If that's the plain and simple truth and health care "reform" does not address this real problem, then the Congressmen who crafted it are guilty of political malpractice.

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