I'm disapppointed that the President and the sponsors of H.R. 5 have targeted this sector of the Constitutionally protected civil justice system for a federal takeover. When Pres. Obama raised it during the SOTU, conservative commentator Ramesh Ponnuru immediately called it "one of the Republicans' crummiest ideas" and added, "There's no need for a federal takeover of medical-malpractice rules." EXACTLY. But apparently the President and senior members of the GOP (the party of "limited government") now aim to limit your 7th Amendment right by using a government mandate, exactly what the GOP opposes in ObamaCare. Bizarre....
Here are a set of reasons why Tea Partiers, Constitutional conservatives, Main Street Republicans and Blue Collars should vigorously oppose H.R. 5 and any federal law limiting medical malpractice lawsuits:
1. The Constitutional basis for medical malpractice tort reform is also the basis for ObamaCare, and both violate the 10th Amendment's protections of states' rights. When he introduced H.R. 5, Rep. Phil Gingrey cited the language of the Commerce Clause: of the Constitution. I wrote about the abuse of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution in separate posts on December 6, on December 14, and on January 4. Simply put, the pro-medmal-reform and pro-ObamaCare forces depend on the theory that the Commerce Clause trumps the protection of individual and states' rights in the Bill of Rights. That's a formula for a slide into dictatorship. And as I wrote on December 6, Founding Father George Mason foresaw the holes in the Constitution and argued against ratification of the Constitution without a Bill of Rights.
2. A better name for any such bill is the "Abortion Butchers & Sexual Abusers Civil Immunity Act of 2011." If enacted, doctors who kill babies and their mothers (see the Gosnell case) could leave jail after their sentence is up, then stop by the bank to pick up their blood money and start over. Why would a pro-lifer (like me) ever want to limit the amount of money an abortion victim could take from killers and butchers in a civil suit?! And it even protects doctors who commit intentional torts, such as sexual abuse! The broad scope of H.R. 5 also protects bad drug and device companies which have been criminally prosecuted.
3. The bill does nothing to stop medical malpractice, which kills up to 100,000 Americans annually and injures up to ten times that number. The bill doesn't improve hospital hygiene, medical records technology, or any other medical practice. Medical malpractice lawsuits can't exist if there's little or no medical malpractice.
4. We have a medical malpractice crisis, but not a medical liability crisis. The number of medical malpractice claims has been headed down - yes, DOWN - for years, down 15 percent from 1999 to 2008. The insurance industry's own data reveals that the amount they've paid out for malpractice claims dropped by over 40% between 2002 and 2008, when adjusted for inflation. H.R. 5 is like fixing a flat tire by emptying the radiator. It misses the point and attacks a non-problem.
5. This bill would increase government spending, because those unable to hold wrongdoers accountable will become dependent on Medicare and Medicaid for payment of their medical costs. The taxpayers will be forced to pay for incompetent doctors and for drugmakers' and medical device manufacturers' faulty products.
6. Why would the GOP immunize industry groups which endorsed ObamaCare and enabled its enactment? The AMA and Big Pharma gave us ObamaCare's unconstitutional mandate, budget-busting spending hikes, and huge tax increases. THANKS FOR NOTHING.
7. Medical malpractice today, religious liberty and gun rights tomorrow? There is no differentiation regarding medical malpractice lawsuits under the Constitution. This would be the same as capping damages in suits against schools firing Christian professors or limiting the size of gun clips.
8. The Founding Fathers were never for tort reform. Back in September, I offered to buy the best dinner in Washington to anyone to shows me just ONE pro-tort reform quote by any Founding Father. I've had no takers and I'm not worried, because none of them proposed limiting our 7th Amendment rights.
To the contrary, the Founding Fathers endorsed and protected the "unalienable right" that a citizen could bring civil claims to a local court of law, before a jury of peers. That right had been expressly recognized in British law for centuries, back to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.