Health Care, Speaker Pelosi, Trial Lawyers in San Francisco

  • Today’s Washington Post, page A19, a story on the Speaker of the House and health care legislation, “Pelosi Puts Onus on Industry,” with the subhed, “Deals Aside, She Says, Hospital and Drug Firms Can Do More.”

Our point, which we’ve made before, is that the influence of the American Association for Justice, trial lawyers and their campaign contributions has escaped the journalistic examination given to industries like pharmaceuticals, hospitals and doctors.

As has the fact that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a pivotal figure in Congress’ health care debate, is speaking Saturday to thousands of the litigation industry’s members. Indeed, the AAJ convention in San Francisco features other prominent elected officials, including House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (speaking at a PAC fundraising event) and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, governor of Virginia. These people will shape any health care law that Congress enacts, and they’re speaking in front of thousands of lawyers with a pecuniary interest in the outcome. But, so far….next to nothing.

It’s a conspicuous oversight by the media and a gaping hole in the national debate over whether to restructure the U.S. health care system.

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  • Frank says:

    n Michigan we have have dramatic tort reform for 16 years. Medical malpractice suits no longer even exist here due to damage caps. There have been no corresponding caps on insurance premiums however. Older people die due to medical malpractice issues and drugs shown to cause cardiac arrest (recalled by the FDA) and because there is no wage loss claim, their families get zero because no attorney can afford to take the case. The insurance companies’ success in Michigan was beyond their wildest dreams. It’s all true. Come to Michigan and take a look at where the insurance lobby pours the contributions out to our politicians, keeping the rates sky high, but limiting the exposure of their benefactors. We are the only state that gives a free ride to pharmaceutical companies on product liability. Guess what? In Michigan insurance rates have continued to climb higher then inflation. It is an old canard, the bogey man trial lawyers. Well, the insurance propagandists won here in Michigan, and we are worse off then ever. We have mandatory “No-Fault” which means it is a crime not to buy their product. Insurance was never meant to create financial behemoths that buy and sell our politicians like mafia bosses of a bygone era. Start to question these so called “facts,” ask for hard data, not anecdotes; don’t let them fool you by picking out an odd ball jury verdict that is later reversed on appeal. You will find that in Michigan, while our economy caves, the insurance companies are awash in profits. Blue Cross and Blue Shield recently tried to privatize and keep $9 Billion Dollars which they have kept in retained earnings. It’s all about their profits, and their lavish salaries, benefits and pensions. Don’t be fooled, learn from the Michigan experience.

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