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Wayne Parsons
Wayne Parsons
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Is Congress Going To Get Rid Of All Of The Trial Attorneys With Tort Reform In Health Care?

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My story on the current health care and tort reform debate it became clear to me that nothing and no one in this country can stand up to the insurance industry. Not President Obama even with a majority in both the House and the Senate and a 75% public demand for the public option. You can see more detail on this in my stories:

Tort Reform Has No Place In Health Care Reform - By Wayne Parsons, September 17, 2009

Public Plan, Public Plan, Public Plan! - By Wayne Parsons, August 29, 2009

Tort Reform Shows the Connection Between Big Insurance and the Republican Party

Wayne Parsons, August 26, 2009

Now as I watch President Obama and Senator Baucus cave in to the force of insurance companies working behind the scenes, I realize that the country is held hostage and will not be free until the insurance industry is reformed. So I was particularly interested when the following message came in from Senator Patrick Leahy (D. VT) on insurance reform:

America’s health insurance companies have had a pretty sweet deal for decades.

They can pick and choose their customers and deny coverage to anyone with any sort of pre-existing condition — evien acne. They can get away with dropping your coverage when you get sick.

And since 1945 they have been exempt from the antitrust regulations that apply to nearly every other industry, rules that protect consumers from anti-competitive business practices like price-fixing.

That’s why, as part of our broader health care reform effort, I just introduced legislation in the Senate to eliminate the outdated insurance industry antitrust exemption and force health insurance companies to compete fairly — like virtually every other business in America.

Please e-mail your members of Congress today, urging them to support the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act, S. 1681 and H.R. 3596.

Passing health care reform with an effective public option is one key way to promote competition in the health insurance marketplace, but we must also eliminate the unjustified and unnecessary antitrust exemption currently enjoyed by insurance companies.

A recent study found that one or two insurance giants dominate 94 percent of American health insurance markets, meaning every year consumers end up paying more money for less coverage.

When insurance companies know they don’t have to compete, they don’t. When they know they can get away with raising your premiums every year, they do. And when they know they can deny you coverage without consequence, they’ll leave you high and dry.

The Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act, which I introduced in the Senate last week, is not the be all and end all of necessary reform, but it is a key way we can give consumers more choice in the health insurance marketplace.

Please e-mail your members of Congress today, urging them to support the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Enforcement Act, S. 1681 and H.R. 3596.

It’s time for the insurance industry to play by the same good-competition rules as nearly every other industry in America.

I’ve proposed similar legislation in the past, and Congress failed to pass it. So we must redouble our efforts this time around and urge Congress to support it as part of our broader health care reform efforts.

Thank you for emailing Congress today to support this important legislation.

Sincerely,

I also just read Politico, where American Association for Justice President Anthony Tarricone talks about the health care bill, tort reform and admits that this a way for Congress to “put trial lawyers out of business.”

Everyone knows that tort reform does not save money, does not provide health care for the uninsured, nor d ores tort reform improve health care. Tort reform eliminates claims by injured people. Those claims prevent medical errors, while less litigation results in more errors, injury and death. Here is what Mr. Tarricone has to say about the debate raging on out televisions across the country:

In the past few weeks, some pundits or talking heads have demanded to know, “What have the trial lawyers sacrificed to get health care passed?” But this isn’t about trial lawyers. It’s about patients, hurt through no fault of their own, left with debilitating injuries or worse. This bill is about health care, not bargaining away people’s legal rights.

….

But taking away people’s legal rights is the entirely wrong way to do it. That’s saying it is acceptable for 98,000 people to die every year, with thousands more injured, because of preventable medical errors. And that’s also saying it is OK to dictate what their lives are worth or whether they should have any recourse at all. Such a proposition is ridiculous.

The entire op-ed is certainly worth a read. Additionally, AAJ has prepared a wealth of materials related to medical negligence and the health care debate, which can be found here.

If you want to know the history of the insurance industry try to get rid of trial attorneys read my article The History Of Tort Reform – A Story of Corporate Greed And A Conspiracy Against Justice For The PeopleBy Wayne Parsons, May 02, 2009 5:13 PM and follow the work that is cited there about The Commonweal Institute, Joanne Doroshow at Civil Justice & Democracy and The CALA Report.

The Attack on Trial Lawyers and Tort Law - The Commonweal Institute

THE CALA FILES: THE SECRET CAMPAIGN BY BIG TOBACCO AND OTHER MAJOR INDUSTRIES TO TAKE AWAY YOUR RIGHTS By Carl Deal and Joanne Doroshow