New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Medical Malpractice


June 29th, 2017

GOP Surrenders Its Soul in Medical Malpractice Vote

Yes, a real case. Yes, the x-ray hangs in my office.

Yesterday the Republican Party gave up another piece of its soul when the House of Representatives voted to restrict the ability to bring medical malpractice cases nationwide. I wrote about this pending legislation back in March.

So let’s review some core conservative principles and see why I wrote that the party sold its soul:

First, the GOP claims to believe in states rights, and have been more than happy to hoist that banner to proclaim that the federal government should keep its nose out-of-state issues such as same-sex marriage. Local control is a big thing for conservatives. Huge.

By federalizing medical malpractice laws to slap an artificial, one-size-fits-all 250K cap on pain and suffering awards  — most clearly a statewide function — the GOP went 100% contrary to its conservative ideology.  This is the exact opposite of the limited government that the party claims to follow.

Second, the GOP likes to claim it is the party of personal responsibility, and never shies away from telling the downtrodden to pull themselves up by their own damn bootstraps. Here, the Republicans once again do a complete about-face, and grant privileges and immunities to those that actually committed the wrongful acts. The GOP granting immunities for negligence? A 100% rejection of its own core philosophy.

Third, the GOP now saddles the public (and the injured) with costs that should be dealt with in the private sector. Serious injuries cause people to lose jobs and opportunities, saddles them with debts, and otherwise makes their lives miserable. They often will be forced onto public assistance and Medicaid.  Instead of the costs being paid by the tortfeasor, via their insurance policies, the costs would be paid with your tax dollars.  Kinda like socialism.

So there you have it, a complete abdication of conservative principles, in favor of a more powerful government with a socialistic policy of the taxpayer paying the costs caused by the doctors and hospitals.

This was called a “tort reform” bill. I would have called it the Big Government-Tortfeasors-Protection-Socialism-Act.

A final thought: This vote was very close at 218-210 vote, and 19 GOP members voted against this appalling legislation. It takes guts to stand up for what you believe in when you are getting pressure from your friends, and that is something that should be noted.

Addendum: Some quotes from Republicans that were opposed to this bill, from the Washington Post:

“This represents a massive expansion of federal authority,” said Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), who voted against the bill.

“It’s a power grab by Washington,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who also voted against the measure.

And the Republican’s House Liberty Caucus put out the statement blow decrying the seizure of federal control over state court actions. While they claim the bill’s objectives are worthwhile (contradicted by actual evidence), they stand on their principles of limiting federal control:

5 thoughts on “GOP Surrenders Its Soul in Medical Malpractice Vote

  1. Well done, Eric! The G.O.P. stands on principles when it is convenient, and abandons them freely when that is convenient. Principles seem to exist only when providing cover for what one was going to do anyway.

  2. The party lost its soul — all decency — decades ago. They’re just lucky that their base is so tolerant of being misserved.

  3. Pingback: July 4th, Medical Malpractice, and the Bill of Rights | New York Personal Injury Law Blog

  4. Very Well written, Eric!

    Really, Republican Party once the party of personal responsibility and the principles surrenders Its soul in medical malpractice vote. Seriously this is not tort reform bill.