GOP Attempts to Slip Medical Malpractice Reform and Other Big Business Wish List Items into Jobs Bill
President Obama has been effective in calling out the GOP Senate and House delegations for their intransigent position on his effort to generate a jobs bill. Up until yesterday their strategy was to continue to sit on the sidelines and do nothing while at the same time criticizing any proposal put forth by Democrats. In a sign that Obama’s remarks are taking a toll, the Senate Republicans have rolled out their own proposal which, not surprisingly, includes what one news article refers to as “something of a greatest hits of Republican economic proposals.” Among them are a repeal of the health care law, a balanced budget amendment, expansion of offshore drilling, a tax overhaul that lowers rates and…surprise, surprise – medical malpractice reform. That train always arrives on time.
The irony of including medical malpractice reform as a “solution” to the current jobs crisis, as well as a budget reducer, is that just this week a report was published by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen lambasting the 2003 medical malpractice reforms in Texas as a “failed experiment” and revealing that caps on damages had no positive impact on containing health care costs. Instead, since the passing of malpractice reform that limits damages available to the injured, health care costs have continued to rise in Texas. Not surprisingly, the profits of malpractice insurance carriers have also continued to rise after passing tort reform legislation. But then again, isn’t that the real agenda of this type of legislation in the first place?