President Obama is pleasing all of the special interests with his health care bill. The insurers, the drugmakers, and now the trial lawyers.
American Association for Jutice President Anthony Tarricone sent out this memo on Christmas Eve gloating over what is and is not in the bill. And more recently, AAJ's top lobbyist, Linda Lipsen, sent members a similar message of Christmas cheer:
The version of the bill passed by the Senate is clear of any provisions that would limit an injured patient’s rights concerning medical negligence claims. While there is a provision for demonstration projects, it provides an absolute opt-out clause for plaintiffs at any time. While some states may embark on demonstration programs we find objectionable, the opt-out provision for plaintiffs minimizes this concern. In November, the House of Representatives voted to pass their version of the healthcare bill. This bill is not the same as the Senate version, and changes must be reconciled before it is delivered to the President’s desk for his signature...The negotiations by the Conferees could turn to the issue of medical malpractice tort reform because the Senate and House have differing versions of medical malpractice related provisions in their bills, so this is no time to tune out.
Those demonstration projects that Obama promised? Don't worry -- they're meaningless. There will be no reform of excessive, unwarranted non-economic damages.
One thing Lipsen does not mention is the huge earmark the trial lawyers are getting in the House-passed bill, which I wrote about last month: Possibly hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees for plaintiffs' lawyers, explicitly allowed by Section 257. That provision specifically allows state attorneys general to sue businesses under ObamaCare's provisions, and to enlist private plaintiffs' lawyers in doing so -- which the federal Justice Department is currently forbidden to do.