Litigation Lobby: president’s med-mal SOTU remarks “disgusting”

by Walter Olson on January 26, 2011

David Ingram, National Law Journal:

The New York-based Center for Justice and Democracy, which describes its mission as “protecting our civil justice system,” released a statement calling Obama’s remarks “disgusting” because many proposed changes would affect cases with merit. “The Republican proposals would weaken the legal rights of sick and injured patients and lessen the accountability of incompetent doctors and unsafe hospitals,” the statement said.

I haven’t seen a direct link to the “disgusting” statement yet, only the NLJ/Legal Times coverage, so I’ll try not to jump to conclusions. (Update: link here, h/t gitarcarver). But I’ve wondered before whether the tone taken by the misnamed Center for Justice and Democracy is so harshly abrasive and shrill that it actually alienates the sorts of centrists and moderate liberals that its trial-lawyer constituency should be trying to win over. Earlier on CJD here, here, here, here, etc.

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1 Ron Miller 01.26.11 at 10:28 am

The President wants to end frivolous lawsuits lawsuits. I agree. I think it is important to note that the President did not say he wants to put caps or meritorious lawsuits where a plaintiff is seriously injured or killed. He also did not say that he adopts all Republican proposal.

I think your calling them “harshly abrasive and shrill” is over the top but I get your point about appealing to moderates. I think the more moderated and reasoned the tone the better.

2 gitarcarver 01.26.11 at 2:40 pm

I believe the “disgusting” comment can be found in the January 24, 2011 pres release from the CJ&D found here:
http://www.centerjd.org/archives/press/2011/110125.php

The quote from the press release is, These families are the forgotten faces in the debate over how to reduce health care costs, and it is disgusting that the President should be searching for ways to further harm these families.

To address Ron’s point of the CJ&D’s comments not being “harshly abrasive and shrill,” (or over the top) there is another line in the press release which says, The Republican ideas are severe and cruel. They guarantee that many injured patients will be shut out of court altogether. They will result in more Americans dying. And they will lead to deficit increases. The President should not be joining with Republicans in this unfair, brutal and misguided mission.

Personally, I can see that as being “harshly abrasive and shrill,” but opinions will vary.

There is an interesting article on the site trying to counter the claim that no doctor would ever order extra tests in the name of “defensive medicine.” The article attacks anonymous doctor surveys that indicate that physicians do order such tests because the doctors are not named.

The article then goes on to say that no doctor would ever order such tests because ordering “defensive medicine” tests is against the regulations of Medicaid and Medicare and no doctor would ever defraud the system.

(I apologize to those who read this while drinking a beverage and now have to clean up their keyboard from laughing.)

3 Bill Alexander 01.26.11 at 3:12 pm

“They will result in more Americans dying.”

As far as I can tell, all Americans will die.

4 Bob Lipton 01.26.11 at 4:14 pm

Not until we’ve filled out the paperwork.

Bob

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