Obama’s Malpractice Proposal Falls Flat For GOP And Democratic Contributors
Trial lawyers have used lobbying and fundraising clout to avert malpractice reform for decades, Politico reports. "Given that their political donations went overwhelmingly to Democrats - generally, by a 3-to-1 ratio - this should be a period of respite. But it won't be, now that President Barack Obama has injected tort reform into the health care reform debate" (Cummings, 9/15).
The New York Times asks whether the likely inclusion of malpractice reforms will squelch contributions from lawyers. "Time will tell, of course. But so far in the 2010 election cycle, lawyers and law firms have given incumbent members of Congress more money than any other industry has given - $13.8 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics." So far, 84 percent of those contributions have gone to Democrats (Seeyle, 9/14).
The tort reforms Obama proposed came in an address to Congress last week. The president said his health department would test such reforms in demonstration projects. Doctors and Republicans asked why the efforts required demonstrations, given that many states have already adopted variations of medical malpractice reform, FOX News reports (9/14).
The Washington Times reports that the president "managed to disappoint both Republicans, who saw it as an empty gesture, and trial lawyers, who felt betrayed by a Democratic ally." Obama's proposal was first suggested by President Bush, and includes giving states funding for alternative, malpractice courts to settle claims. Republicans nevertheless "balked that the president's plan was a tactic to delay more sweeping reform measures" (Miller, 9/15).