Monday, January 10, 2005
or: "Picking the Low-Hanging Fruit"
The President's campaign to impose caps on noneconomic damages in tort cases elicits a negative reaction from only one group (the plaintiffs' bar), and that group is overwhelmingly behind Democratic candidates. For that reason alone, expect this to be the early "feel good" issue of the the 109th Congress, albeit an issue that the Senate's 44 Democrats can be expected to go to the mat to defeat. AHLA's "Health Law Highlights" provides these links:
In a January 5 speech at Gateway Center in Collinsville, Illinois, President Bush talked about the "need to fix a broken medical liability system" and urged Congress to pass "real" reform this year. According to Bush, "lawyers are filing baseless suits against hospitals and doctors" because they "know the medical liability system is tilted in their favor." In order to solve the problem of these "junk" lawsuits, Bush expressed his support for a cap on non-economic damages of $250,000. According to Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) the President's plan would also shield large drug companies from liability for their own negligence. "In its zeal to support the big drug companies, the Bush Administration is seriously overreaching with this proposal. It will not stand," Dorgan said.
To read the text of Bush's speech, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/01/20050105-4.html
To read Sen. Dorgan's statement, go to http://dorgan.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=230431