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The Back Room Stuff

     A man called a repairman to his house. He had a leak in his roof, right over the kitchen table. When the repairman came, he asked, “When did you notice the leak in your kitchen”. The man replied, “Last night, when it took me two hours to eat my soup”.

     The story reminds me of the back room politics that surrounds the national health care debate. If you watched the President’s State of the Union address the other night, you might have noticed that he indicated that he  was open for compromise, to work through the differences in the health care law.  

     That brief mention came as a result of some of the leaks that we are hearing from the back rooms of the halls of Congress. The debate on health care reform has brought out the tort deformers and Big Business.

     There are many ideas  being floated for compromise, to try to get the Health care legislation sailing through. Some include ideas of medical malpractice limits, which President Obama has already indicated that he would be willing to consider. In fact, during his Presidential campaign, he had suggested that there needed to be reforms relating to the frivolous lawsuits that are brought against doctors.

     There are many other “reform re-runs” that are being brought up again. Such as, there is discussion to limit Pharmacuetical liability and to introduce limitations on how long a person has to file an injury lawsuit. “One leak” on the idea of filing would include putting a limitation of one year to bring a lawsuit. That way, Big Business could better quantify what exposures they may face, relating to bad products.

     I blog on two other items that have leaked out. Those are the concepts of “Loser Pays” and the idea of limiting lawyer contingency fees.

     On the surface, it seems that those two ideas, as amendments or compromisees to the health care legislation, should have plenty of momentum. Who doesn’t think that “Loser pays” would help stop frivolous lawsuits?

     Limiting contingency fees is an easy argument. Most people don’t like lawyers and think that law is a license to steal. So, when there is a discussion of limiting contingency fees, there probably is little concern from the public.

     For the purposes of looking at that; instead of arguing against it, let’s look at the alternative. Whenever there is an argument to limit contingency fees to lawyers, you will notice that there never is a movement to limit  how much a defense or corporate lawyer can charge for the defense. Basically, what Big Business and their pushers are saying is that, “we want to limit your representation but our lawyers have no limitation”. If they can affect the opposition, they can reduce responsibility.

     The same argument applies to “loser pays”. If you look closely, they always want to put the responsibility on the party bringing the action. If you are going to introduce legislation like that, then why not make it apply both ways? Whoever loses should pay the costs and attorney fees of the opposing party. Believe me, you will see them scurry when that is proposed.

     That is just a brief discussion of some of the leaks from the back room. I guess a greater question would be, what does that really have to do with health care? The spinsters can figure out an answer to that because Big Business has no limitations on what they can pay.

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