When I saw this picture, I knew I had to start the blog with it. I think I live by this mantra!
We signed up a new client yesterday, who was hit by a truck while leaving a grocery store parking lot. The grocery store has signs hanging on several of their poles that say, “These premises are under closed circuit camera surveillance for your protection“.
Immediately, our investigator walked into the store to ask about the surveillance video, to help us prove our case. The manager just smiled and then admitted that they really didn’t have any cameras, just the signs. I guess it’s a bit like having a “Beware of Dog” sign… without owning a dog.
The “surveillance signs” seem like a good metaphor to lead into a quick discussion of some legislation being debated in Congress. H.R 1215 has been introduced by Representative Steve King (R-Iowa). It is known as the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017. For the purposes of this blog, I won’t get into an entire discussion of the pros and cons of Obamacare or providing health care for the entire country. That would put us into a blog of sleepy time. Instead, I am just going to mention a few highlights of this bill.
The title of the bill relates to health care, but amendments also include (H.R. 382) which indicates the bills intent to “provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system”. That has a special meaning to insurance companies.
Here’s some items this “health care” bill includes: SKIP THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE DETAILS AND JUMP DOWN ONE PARAGRAPH TO THE REAL BLOG THOUGHT!
(Or just meander through)
A. A federal $250,000 non-economic damage cap on lawsuits to override state laws; B. elimination of naming doctors and drug companies in a single lawsuit that involves a claim relating to a prescription; C. establish a statute of limitations federally that restricts filing a lawsuit after 3 years, even if any state has a longer statute of limitation or even if the person injured did not know that they were hurt from something; a restriction of a percentage that a lawyer can charge for representing someone (although, there is no restriction on what can be charged by lawyers to defend the claims), D. and an elimination of joint liability for economic and non-economic damages in the same claim.
NOW HERE IS THE KICKER TO THIS BILL FOR OUR BLOG DISCUSSION!
This bill would require PLAINTIFF experts in any malpractice case to meet the following requirements: First, an expert would have to sign an affidavit 90 days prior to filing suit to outline the areas of malpractice by the defendant. Second, the expert must be in the same field of expertise as the defendant. And Third…. and the real amazing item to me: Any expert must be from the same state as the doctor who committed malpractice, or else must be in a contiguous state to the state where the malpractice has been supposedly committed.
Why am I focusing on the Third item, out of all the things I have mentioned? For instance, under this bill, a doctor at Duke, who might even be chairman of the department, cannot testify as an expert in a case in Pennsylvania.
Why do they do this? To restrict the ability to prove malpractice. If an insurance company can restrict experts that can be hired and restrict what lawyers can be paid, then they can restrict malpractice claims. They want to make it hard to hire an expert. And, they know how hard it is to get a doctor to testify against another doctor that they know, in the same state.
SOMEHOW, THIS GOES UNDER THE HEADING OF PROVIDING GOOD HEALTH CARE WITHOUT FEAR.
That’s why I say that those signs hanging in the parking lot are a good metaphor for such legislation. I just wanted to give you something to think about. No wonder people want to drain the swamp!
And finally; yes I admit it, I do enjoy cake which causes me to post cake pictures: