Following Obama’s health care speech to Congress last week, the debate has moved away from the outrageous distortions that plagued town halls this summer, and is beginning to re-root itself in fact. Opponents of reform continue to try and cloud the issue by calling for tort reform, but the message is breaking through that this red herring would do nothing to lower costs or expand coverage.
In her column today, Jeanne Cummings of Politico, wrote about AAJ’s efforts to push back against the tort reform distraction, writing that “Obama is trying to tread by offering a concession to Republican tort reform advocates without…compromising…an individual’s right to seek redress in court.”
In the piece, AAJ’s Linda Lipsen said that “Forty-eight states have already passed significant tort reform, and the only effect was to make it harder for individuals…injured or killed through medical malpractice to obtain redress.”
From Politico, “Indeed insurance rates and health care costs have continued to rise, even though the[se] state reforms include the sort of jury award caps that Republicans in Washington have long argued are the cure for the problem.”
As calls for malpractice reform are exposed as distractions, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has announced an advertising blitz to regain its footing. Of course, the Chamber is bankrolled by major insurance companies, so it’s no wonder it would push hard to limit, or even eliminate, accountability for its corporate clients.
Still, there was more evidence today that the debate is at last coming back down to earth, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an editorial entitled “Health Care and the Myth of Tort Reform.” In it, the paper’s editorial board writes “many opponents of Mr. Obama’s reform plans point to tort reform as a kind of silver bullet to reducing health care costs. Like many of their claims, the facts don’t bear that out.”