The lack of any serious tort reform in the many health care bills floating around Congress has undermined the credibility of the big push for less care at a greater cost from day one. All of the versions of Obamacare are threatening seniors with rationing, private employers with higher taxes, and everyone with getting dumped into a bare bones public plan even as the CBO predicts enormous additions to the deficits as a result. Defenders of the plan like the AARP cannot mount a coherent case because the repeated arguments by the president and Congressional Democrats about the need to cut billions from Medicare is understood by everyone to mean deep reductions in services to seniors.
What’s absurd about the effort is that every high-sounding call for the need to change and the crisis of health care is immediately understood to be hypocrisy because the speakers aren’t demanding the sort of damage caps in medical malpractice cases that will have immediate and dramatic impacts on the costly practices of preventative medicine. The lack of tort reform brands each of these bills as protection rackets for one of the key funding sources of the Democrats –trial lawyers. Everyone has to sacrifice, the president hectors evert audience (except my friends from the Bar with the million dollar contribution accounts.)
Now that seniors, doctors and employers are fully engaged on the debate and know the risks to their care, their practices and their businesses posed by the push for Obamacare, all three audiences and more will be listening very closely to the president on Wednesday night. If the president doesn’t demand comprehensive tort reform as part of the payment package for his latest set of proposals, everyone will know it isn’t really a heath care reform or health insurance reform bill. Without tort reform it will remain one lengthy talking point on behalf of the power of the Democratic Party.
And opposition will grow. The president’s popularity will continue to fall, and Democrats will inch closer to a devastating loss next November.
Why? Because, with no help from the MSM, the county has come to understand the Obama-Pelosi game on health care, and even if a majority of Americans was willing to watch them blow a trillion dollars on the stimulus and nationalize GM, that same majority will not applaud the destruction of American medicine complete with the protection of the plaintiffs’ bar. The president has used up his credit with the electorate, and now he is threatening the way they live, the care they receive as seniors, and the insurance they get from work which they value. And he’s doing so while protecting the extremely small but very wealthy core of Democratic Party funders that are plaintiffs’ lawyers.
Between now and Wednesday, every Republican elected official and every center-right commentator ought to be demanding that the president demand serious and thorough tort reform as the test of a real commitment to real health care reform. There’s a week to focus the country on the incredible hypocrisy of purporting to care about health care while protecting the lawyers who drive so much of the cost that plagues the system.