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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:18 PM
Original message
Cheney Slams Dem. Ticket on Malpractice
, makes humongous ass of self (not the real subhed, but read on...)

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040719/ap...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) criticized the Democratic ticket on Monday, arguing that John Kerry (news - web sites) and John Edwards (news - web sites) have opposed changes to the medical malpractice insurance system because they are too close to trial lawyers.

During a question-and-answer session with Bush-Cheney backers, the vice president said the administration is pushing to cap the amounts from large court judgments for what he called "non-economic suffering."...

Describing the issue as a "basic values question," Edwards said, "Sen. Kerry and I are going to stand with families and kids as we always have, as we believe it's important for the president and the vice president to do, instead of being on the side of insurance companies and big drug companies, which is unfortunately where they are."


And the kicker:

Repeating the audience member's question, Cheney confused Kerry with Edwards: "He mentioned that Senator Kerry was a trial attorney who'd been involved ... "

What a moran! Has he been drinking out of the same glass as Whistle-Ass or something?!





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geek tragedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:19 PM
Response to Original message
1. He's doing his Gipper imitation. eom
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onebigbadwulf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
2. As a med student this is probably my only qualm
with the dems. Capping suffering claims is indeen siding with big insurance.

But doctors are required to have this insurance, and with all the money to be made by lawyers we are quickly gouged. A good way to stop frivolous suits is to infact put caps on these awards so lawyers have less incentive to file suits in the first place.
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Spinzonner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Would you also be willing to combine this

with a more rigorous system for monitoring and disciplining doctors to minimize some of the claims in the first place.

If not, then you're treating the symptom and not the disease. That may sometimes be necessary but you need to justify it in this case, I think.

And we both need to remember that these issues arise out of problems with Insurance company investments in a down economy more than either the doctors or the lawyers.
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bahrbearian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. Exactly
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onebigbadwulf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. When a doctor gets sued for helping someone
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 07:43 PM by onebigbadwulf
who is dying on a plane - the problem is NOT being a bad doctor.

The problem is having too many lawyers itching for green.

There is a big difference between genuine lawsuits and frivolous ones.
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Spinzonner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #12
19. I believe you're raising somewhat of a straw man

Situations like that are already covered by Good Samaritan laws though there are probably exceptions for gross neglicgence and incompetence.

We're talking about incompetent doctors who make gross errors or repeatedly fail to perform to adequate standards.

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SangamonTaylor Donating Member (537 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:28 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. not to mention those stardards of care are set by DOCTORS!
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SangamonTaylor Donating Member (537 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #12
21. as a law student, the rise of "frivolous lawsuits" is an urban legend
The number of tort lawsuits in state courts declined over the ninties, and the rate of federal lawsuits per capita has not changed since 1970.

If anything is clogging the court system, it is businesses suing other businesses in contract disputes.

Further, the contingency fee system keeps attorneys from taking baseless cases.

Malpractice is a tricky area, because the standard of care for doctors is established by the medical community, not by lawyers, or by laymen. The same goes with legal malpractice.

Last, there's the little issue that "frivilous lawsuits" have absolutely nothing to do with capping rewards for "non-economic injuries". People, "non-economic injury" is just a way for the corporate lobby to say "pain and suffering". So what are they really trying to change? It doesn't seem like they are trying to fix the "problem" of "frivilous lawsuits".

A "fivilous lawsuit" is a case that has no merit. So why is it that the corporate lobby is trying to limit those cases that clearly have merit...cases where a jury of the community has provided for large compensation for tort victims? Limiting non-economic injury has absolutely nothing to do with frivilous lawsuits. Just my little opinion.
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Cocoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. you're not required to take the GOP position
just because of your profession.

Plenty of doctors, for example Howard Dean, and my friend Barry, are opposed to caps, and the AMA agenda in general.



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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
16. A really good way to prevent malpractice suits...
... is to avoid malpractice....

The punitive damages are to convince the wrongdoer to get his or her act together.

I just talked to a lawyer weekend before last about this, and he said the latest stats on insurance payouts on malpractice and personal injury vs. gross receipts has been declining steadily (less than 2% of gross), and yet insurance rates have not gone down. The people who are really jabbing doctors are not patients, but, rather, the insurance companies.

The raw fact is that a lot of companies got into malpractice insurance in the early `80s, and discounted their rates to make their policies attractive. They felt they could do that because interest rates were high then, and they were sure their investments would cover the discounting. Interest rates went way down, and they have been raising rates progressively ever since, to make up for the shortfall.

Texas' arguments for malpractice reform was that it would reduce health costs, because malpractice insurance rates would go down. Three years later, doctors have yet to see a noticeable reduction in rates. Texas is a particular case, since in the period from 2001 to mid-2002, there were 6,022 malpractice cases referred to the Board of Medical Examiners, and not a single one of them has been reviewed as of yet. The last time a doctor lost the right to practice in Texas was in 1989.

In the Texas legislature, they call the place in the gallery where the insurance lobbyists sit, "the owners' box."

I have two people in my immediate circle of friends who right now have been basically screwed by tort reform. One had to declare bankruptcy, and the other will be fighting a losing battle to join a hospital in a case where the hospital is clearly liable.

When it's you on the receiving end of tort reform, it's a different matter.

As for frivolous suits, most of those don't get past the discovery stage. When a judge decides the evidence isn't there, they get thrown out. The insurance companies want us all to believe that high awards = frivolous suits, where in fact, juries usually recognize when there's a massive screw-up and compensate the victim in a way to send a message to the defendant.

Besides, it's a Constitutional right to sue for damages. If any of us have been seriously wronged, the first thing we do is call a lawyer. Why any individual would want to legislate that right away is beyond me. But, then again, there are a lot of people out there who think the USA PATRIOT Act is a good thing, too.

Cheers.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #2
20. Don't punish people who have valid claims. Punish the LAWYERS for
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 08:25 PM by AP
bringing claims that didn't succeed. If a lawyer brings three frivolous claims, remove their license to bring medical malpractice claims.

The problem with limiting awards is two-fold:

1) You can't leave individuals bearing the burden of uncompensated loss and damages. If someon has damages of 1,000,000 dollars, who do you benefit by giving them 300,000 in damages? That uncompensated damage of 700,000 doesn't disappear. When a person runs out of money to take care of themselves, and they can't work to make more money, they go on public assisstance, which the taxpayer pays. In other words, you shift the risk of loss from insurance companies to taxpayers when you cap damage awards. Someone always pays for uncompensated loss. Caps just make sure it isn't private, for-profit insurance companies who do the paying.

2) One of the reasons punitive damage awards are going up is because of the fact that the insurance and health care industry is getting bigger. A 10K dollar punitive damage award against a 1 billion dollar company isn't going to convince them to change their ways. But a 1 million dollar punitive award probably will. Big American businesses can't have their cake and eat it too. They can't merge and monopolize and buy legislation that allows them to become billion dollar industries and then turn around and say that million dollar awards meant to make them change their actions are unreasonable. They'd be unreasonable if they were a million dollar business. But a big punitive damage award is not that unreasonable if the defendant is a huge businesses.
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Th1onein Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 02:48 AM
Response to Reply #2
29. Let's compare this to liability insurance, okay? That's where you will
find the truth--in practice.

When the law requiring every driver in Texas to carry liability insurance was before the legislature, we were told that because ALL drivers would be required to carry this insurance, the rates would go down. But, in fact, they didn't go down. In fact, they ROSE, and the insurance companies made record profits from this legislation.

Now, apparently, ALL doctors are required to carry malpractice insurance. And, because they can't make as much of a profit, because health care costs so much, they are trying to cut the costs in another way.

My question is: Who does it screw? It screws the little guy, incoming (doctors) and outgoing (patients).

The solution is not to enact "tort reform" legislation, but to provide some sort of health care system that is funded by our taxes.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #29
33. Maybe the gov't should provide med mal insurance. In Canada...
...one of the provinces provides auto insurance. Every year they try to match inflow with outflow. Their premiums are half the rates of private insurance the year they started the program, which has subsequently driven down private insurance rates (why wasn't the free market able to achieve if not a 50% reduction, then at least a 25% reduction?). Thanks to the savings, consumers now have money to spend other places in the economy which have much more positive economic rammifications.

Furthermore, the policy implications have been very positive: the province now sees legislation encouraging safe roads and automobiles as tax and money saving policy. It also, consequently reduces misery caused by unneccessary deaths or from time wasted in hospitals and doctors offices (which is also bad for the economy--it's bad when expensively educated and time-consumingly trained people aren't at work or die early deaths).

In fact, road deaths and accidents are down in the province.

I heard this all on a story on CBC about two years ago.
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AP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #29
34. Maybe the gov't should provide med mal insurance. In Canada...

...one of the provinces provides auto insurance. Every year they try to match inflow with outflow. Their premiums are half the rates of private insurance the year they started the program, which has subsequently driven down private insurance rates (why wasn't the free market able to achieve if not a 50% reduction, then at least a 25% reduction?). Thanks to the savings, consumers now have money to spend other places in the economy which have much more positive economic rammifications.

Furthermore, the policy implications have been very positive: the province now sees legislation encouraging safe roads and automobiles as tax and money saving policy. It also, consequently reduces misery caused by unneccessary deaths or from time wasted in hospitals and doctors offices (which is also bad for the economy--it's bad when expensively educated and time-consumingly trained people aren't at work or die early deaths).

In fact, road deaths and accidents are down in the province.

I heard this all on a story on CBC about two years ago.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. When the class of people who share a risk is EVERYONE ...
... it only makes sense to "insure" (share the economic impact of that risk) in the public sector. (I don't know why this isn't obvious.)

Insurance (sharing of economic risk) started with Lloyds of London ... a loose affiliation of shipping owners agreeing to share the risk of sunk ships. Since they were facing a risk shared only by a narrow few, it made sense to have a private organization. They only shared the economic risk -- nothing was done about the lives of the crew/passengers.

When EVERYONE shares the "risk" of old age, it makes sense to have OASDI at the public level. I argue the same for health.

It seems clear that 'government' is a form of insurance - against crime and war, if nothing else - for risks which are shared by all within a nation.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:10 AM
Response to Reply #2
30. Have an oversight panel
Cases have to go through an oversight panel before they go to trial. If a lawyer brings 3 frivilous lawsuits, they lose their license. That's part of the Kerry/Edwards plan and would likely do more good than capping awards. What would do even more good would be for people to know whether doctors have lost malpractice suits so that we wouldn't go to them anymore. I'm sure you know that a large amount of awards given are against doctors who have been previously sued.
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chuckhoward Donating Member (74 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #2
36. Caps
The Center for American Progress addresses this issue in today's issue. http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF...

The article has numerous links to a CBO study released this past January.
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Parche Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. whats worse
Lying about Halliburton, and helping them out with no-bid contracts?
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Spinzonner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:23 PM
Response to Original message
4. His robo-heart is probably not pumping enough blood to the brain

(what's Shrub's excuse ?)

Where are all these incompetent doctors when you really need them - treating the Dickster
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HysteryDiagnosis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Prolly so... prolly so....
What does this man have to talk about... he should stand in the corner for a few days after what we have suffered at his hand.
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NJmaverick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
6. So by that reasonning it would be bad to be to close
To big oil?
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
7. Pot meet Kettle
Cheney may have a point, but this is a tiny thing compared to Cheney's own criminal behavior.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:32 PM
Response to Original message
10. So we have a corrupt system that is maiming patients
So, where should we reform the system? Make health care a civil right, and turn it into a not-for-profit industry? There's a case to be made that while health care workers are worth of a wage commensurate with their talent and effort, why should large corporations turn a buck on someone's illness?

Require greater regulation and transparency in the insurance industry? Well, we could go back to the days when insurance companies did nothing but insure people. Now they're "diversified," meaning that they can take premiums and invest them in all sorts of risky places, and the insureds have to pick up the slack when the investments go sour. Of course, if the investments pay off handsomely, premiums still rise because those investments go to pay executive salaries.

No, let's not take anything like that! Let's go after the people who are maimed and killed by doctors due to inattention, negligence, or outright criminal incompetence. That will make the system all better -- punish the people who get injured. They're already hurt and accustomed to a life of deprivation.
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rfkrocks Donating Member (846 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:47 PM
Response to Original message
13. How about foreign policy malpractice
Gee if a doctor screwed up the way Cheney did in Iraq and the rest of the world-there would be a billion dollar verdict
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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
14. i'm surprised that John and John haven't brought up the fact that bush
just retained a criminal lawyer a couple of weeks back. a trial lawyer, if i'm not mistaken. 8^)
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FredScuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. The same one that's defending Kenny Boy.
n/t
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:00 PM
Response to Original message
15. So long as no one calls him on it- he'll get away with it
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 08:00 PM by depakote_kid
The media will NEVER hold anyone in this administration accountible- nor will they give Kerry and Edwards equal time or an equal profile place to respond. Unless the Kerry campaign figures this out and starts to go after them- and yes, that means with negative ads- they'll get Dukakis'd and Gored.

Thus far, that's exactly what's been happening....
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Ivan Zero Donating Member (184 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:19 PM
Response to Original message
18. But Kerry WAS an attorney
A prosecuting attorney. Funny how the * campaign always forgets to mention that.
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nomatrix Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:56 PM
Response to Original message
23. Cheney has a problem with lawyers?
http://news.findlaw.com/legalnews/us/election/election2...
Election 2000 lawsuits
Unless you are demanding a presidency.

There was a great site that broke down all the suits.
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mediaman007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 09:23 PM
Response to Original message
24. I see malpractice work as Free Enterprise...
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 09:24 PM by mediaman007
If there is a need in a society, let Free Enterprise take care of it.

Maybe doctors shouldn't try to cure everything. Maybe McDonalds should serve warm coffee. Maybe companies should not sell defective products.

If companies can't control their products, maybe they are too big. Maybe large corporations should be more concerned with the product and the customer, rather than the profit and the investor.

Leave it to the Republicans to decide the winners (their donors!) and limit the means to a livelihood for the rest of us.


edit for spelling
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PROGRESSIVE1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:06 PM
Response to Original message
25. Healthcare costs have skyrocketed because of GREEDY....
INSURANCE COMPANIES!!!
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GarySeven Donating Member (898 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:25 PM
Response to Original message
26. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FRIVOLOUS MALPRACTICE CLAIM!!!!!!
No lawsuit against a doctor ever goes forward unless it has been reviewed by other physicians who are called upon as experts. These experts are far too expensive to justify a lawyer bringing a "frivolous" claim. BTW a "frivolous" claim is one which is sanctioned as thus by a COURT OF LAW. It is not a matter of opinion, but something for which lawyers are sanctioned, fined and penalized for bringing. For all the protests of "frivolous malpractice" claims NO ONE EVER PRODUCES A SINGLE EXAMPLE of such a claim. Meanwhile, there are nearly 400,000 people per year who die as a result of incompetent physicians. That's the equivilant of a jumbo jet crashing every day of the year. Into World Trade Centers. Yet one in eight such cases ever produces a lawsuit and less than half of those ever proceed beyond summary judgment.

There aren't too many malpractice lawsuits -- there are TOO FEW!!
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kungfugrip Donating Member (124 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
27. I wonder if Cheney would have sued if his old junkie doctor
screwed up a diagnosis or treatment for that bulging ticker of his?
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leesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
28. We sure could use a malpractice lawyer working to put the criminals
in the WH in jail.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 05:39 AM
Response to Original message
31. I want John Edwards as my lawyer against Enron & Halliburton
Sheesh. Neither Bush nor Cheney ever went to law school -- and they show their ignorance of and contempt for the laws of this nation whenever possible. They went straight to executive (and executionary) power.

Both John Kerry and Edwards have been actual lawyers as well as actual legislators, and they've reliably come down on the side of the less powerful and monied.

Guess which team we want on our side? ;-)

Hekate
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MaineDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
32. Then there was the doc whom Bush had at his side in Ohio...
To bolster his argument Mr. Bush introduced a local doctor, Compton Girdharry, to an audience at Youngstown State University. Dr. Girdharry, an obstetrician/gynecologist, said he had been driven from a practice of 21 years by the high cost of malpractice insurance.

The president praised Dr. Girdharry and thanked him for his "compassion."

If Mr. Bush was looking for an example of a doctor who was victimized by frivolous lawsuits, Dr. Girdharry was not a great choice. Since the early 1990's, he has settled lawsuits and agreed to the payment of damages in a number of malpractice cases in which patients suffered horrible injuries.

http://www.cybercopia.com/mavenuniversity/blogs/2004_06...

I heard this on NPR a while ago. I couldn't believe that the White House used this guy as a poster child for frivolous malpractice suits. He was an incompetent doctor! What a joke.
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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
37. Why does Cheney support incompetent doctors? That is so un-american.
Just a spin on it.
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