Thursday, March 22, 2012

Republicans Work For Health Care Reform

Finally, the long promised Republican alternative to Obamacare!  Yesterday, the Republican-controlled House spent most of the day debating H.R.5- their self-named "HEALTH" bill!

Well, to save you the trouble, Green Eagle read the text of the bill.  Here is what it features:

1.  Cutting the time patients have to file malpractice lawsuits.

2.  Limiting punitive damage to $250,000, an utterly meaningless amount when the defendant is a huge health care company or pharmaceutical manufacturer.

3.  "In particular, in any health care lawsuit in which the attorney for a party claims a financial stake in the outcome by virtue of a contingent fee, the court shall have the power to restrict the payment of a claimant’s damage recovery to such attorney"

I.e. making it impossible for plaintiff's attorneys to take cases on a contingent fee basis, requiring plaintiffs to bear for years the often multimillion dollar costs of suing a corporation up front.  This has been an element of "tort reform" since the very beginning, and is designed to make it impossible for individuals to sue companies.

4.  "Punitive damages may, if otherwise permitted by applicable State or Federal law, be awarded against any person in a health care lawsuit only if it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that such person acted with malicious intent to injure the claimant"

Something that makes it virtually impossible to recover punitive damages against pharmaceutical manufacturers, since nothing they have done, however malicious, could be interpreted as being motivated by an intent to injure that specific claimant.

5.  "No demand for punitive damages shall be included in a health care lawsuit as initially filed. A court may allow a claimant to file an amended pleading for punitive damages only upon a motion by the claimant and after a finding by the court..."

Thus vastly increasing the cost of filing a malpractice lawsuit.

Well, there you go...claiming to be passing legislation to improve health care, the Republicans are doing nothing but attempting to achieve their decades-old goal of "tort reform," which as I have pointed out before, is nothing but an attempt to make it impossible for ordinary people to seek legal redress against the rich.  Republicans are nothing but criminals- every single one of them- and they all belong in prison, alongside their rich masters.


fred c said...

In our tradition, the right of individuals to sue for negligence has been developed and maintained through the Common Law, and not by legislative process. There's a reason for this.

Judges make the Common Law, it's often called "Judge made law." Many Common Law negligence concepts, such as Respondeat Superior, were first formulated by judges in ancient Rome. Fairness is the goal.

Legislators come and go, and they must be elected. The Common Law is forever, or it should be. Common Law process more resembles plate tectonics than it resembles legislative process.

This list of proposed changes to Common Law negligence rights proves that legislators cannot be trusted with something so important.

Green Eagle said...

Fred, Thanks for the obviously well-informed comment. Of course, Republicans have no concern with our national traditions, or anything else that stands in the way of their service to the rich; otherwise we wouldn't have had to bear eight years of the Bush-Cheney presidency or a corrupt Supreme Court ruling allowing foreign corporations and governments to buy our politicians.

fred c said...

Those guys you mention, their stated objective since the Reagan years has been to destroy the power of the Federal Government, thereby removing the only effective restraint on corporate activities. No, our legal and cultural traditions don't mean much to them at all.

Thanks for your efforts, by the way. I don't have the energy to write much about politics myself.