CommunityPam's House Blend

The Bush Health Care Plan: Limit Malpractice Jury Awards . I guess this is so OB-GYNs can continue “to practice their love on women,” and so doctors like Senator-elect Tom “Dr. Mengele” Carson of OK can sterilize women without their permission. (AP):

The drive to cap malpractice verdicts – beyond actual economic damages such as the cost of long-term medical care or inability to work – was a staple of Bush’s campaign appearances. It was the first health-related topic the president touched upon in his first postelection news conference.

“We must confront the frivolous lawsuits that are driving up the cost of health care and hurting doctors and patients,” he said on Nov. 4.

Republicans have expanded their majority in the Senate, so supporters think there could be enough momentum to overcome Democratic-led resistance to limits on malpractice awards.

No one is saying that frivolous lawsuits are OK, or that some awards are unjustified. What is likely to result is a chilling effect on legitimate lawsuits. Sometimes companies — and incompetent doctors — need to feel the financial pain of the damage they cause. A better alternative might be if the damages exceed the needs of the complainant, that an amount goes into a legal fund for indigent defendants. We’ve already got a problem with the lack of public defenders and private attorneys willing to work in that capacity.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding