Washington Post’s Lesson from Massachusetts: Tort Reform!

The Washington Post’s opinion page today draws an unexpected lesson from Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race in an editorial, “For Democrats and Republicans alike, lessons from the Massachusetts Senate election“:

The White House answer will be: We tried, and Republicans didn’t want to play ball. That’s true, and the growing strength of the party’s Tea Party wing is making cooperation ever more difficult.

But imagine that Mr. Obama had refused to take the Republicans’ no as his final answer. The president acknowledged, for example, that malpractice litigation is a factor in driving up health-care costs. He signaled he might be open to its reform if Republican senators would support his overall framework. When none did, malpractice reform fell by the wayside, which was the predictable response; why offend a Democratic interest group (trial lawyers) for no apparent political gain? But Mr. Obama could have insisted: This is a good idea, not just a Republican idea, and it belongs in health-care reform. A series of such steps, difficult as they would be, might have a real effect on public opinion and the political climate.


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