In 2005, the Republicans in Georgia, lead by the Republican Governor tried to rob the Georgia citizens of its right to a fair and impartial jury trial by, among other things, placing a limit on the amount of non-economic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. The thinly veiled reason: to stop frivolous medical malpractice lawsuit. Can anyone reading this really argue that placing a limit on damages when someone is severely injured by medical negligence is a recipe to stop frivolous lawsuits? No. The real reason and the real effect of this type of proposed tort reform is just another governmental grab to take away our freedom as jurors and for the government elitists to tell us what a catastrophic injury is worth. Why? For the Republicans, to help out the powerful insurance companies by limiting their exposure to large verdicts when, for instance someone is rendered a quadriplegic from malpractice or when a little boy loses his legs when the medical providers fail to detect a fast growing tumor despite his parents bringing him to the doctors because or clear sign and symptoms of this type of tumor. Thankfully, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the limits on damages in these situations because it was clearly unconstitutional. Undeterred, the Republicans are trying to help out the big insurance companies by seeking to pass similar legislation on the federal level. In addition to being discriminatory and based on nothing more than “talking points” which don’t stand up when examined closely, the proposed federal tort reform violates one of the GOP’s stated basic tenets of minimal federal government intervention on state’s rights. Of course, when they see an opportunity to, once again, bail out the powerful insurance companies, the Republicans who are pushing this ill-advised legislation simply ignore state’s rights.
Paul Bland writes the following article which is compelling and points out the hypocrisy of the latest “tort reform” by Republican legislatures, this time on the federal level. Paul Bland is executive director of Public Justice, a national public interest law firm that pursues high-impact lawsuits to combat social and economic injustice, protect the Earth’s sustainability and challenge predatory corporate conduct and government abuses.
The GOP has long had the brand of being the party of states’ rights and minimalist federal government — it’s no wonder that Paul Ryan has been thinking about sending Medicaid back to the states since he was in college. Indeed, one of the reasons cited by House Republican leadership in the battle over the American Health Care Act for why Medicaid funding should be distributed to states in block grants with fewer federal requirements is that it empowers states to design Medicaid programs that meet each particular state’s needs.