The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

House Health Bill (Again) Overlooks Real Reform

with one comment

The House passed HR 3962 (all 2,048 pages of it) on Saturday in a tightly contested vote, 220-215. This is the first formal step Congress has taken toward passing a comprehensive health care law that would give the government even more control over health care.

Among the numerous problems with the bill, one particularly egregious problem is tort reform – an area the Policy Council believes should be reserved to the states.

But the House bill severely limits states’ abilities to take on tort reform. The following statement, taken directly from the bill itself, stipulates that a state can only enact tort reform if:

“the law does not limit attorneys’ fees or impose caps on damages.”

Quite a loaded statement, and a major power grab by the federal government to restrict states’ abilities to enact reform.

Why is tort reform such as caps on damages being kept out of so-called health care reform? Perhaps it might have to do with the current Health Czar’s prior work affiliation.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, previously worked as the director of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association. That’s right – she was a lobbyist for the trial lawyers who so strongly oppose tort reform.

Several states – including South Carolina – have enacted tort reform that includes capping personal damages. These states have widely reported that the reforms have been successful at curtailing doctors’ costs while improving quality of care.


Nothing in the foregoing should be construed as an attempt to aid or hinder passage of any legislation. Copyright 2009. South Carolina Policy Council Education Foundation, 1323 Pendleton Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.


Written by Geoff Pallay

November 9, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Posted in Federalism, Healthcare

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One Response

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  1. First of all several states does not make for empirical evidence.

    What is the total cost of tort to the 2.1 trillion dollar health care industry?

    What are the top three biggest cost drivers of health care casts?

    Of all of the med mal suits what percentage are frivolous?

    What percentage of medical negligence leads to a malpractice claim?

    How many patients are injured by medication errors every year?

    How many people die in hospitals every year because of medical errors?

    How much are medical malpractice premiums driven by bad insurance company investments?

    Does anybody have any good empirical evidence regarding defensive medicine or do we just take anecdotal evidence to drive national policy?

    If you are a big believer in federalism then I guess you would support my right to sue medical device manufacturers.


    Mark Baird

    November 12, 2009 at 1:26 am

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