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Within days of the passage of President Obama's signature Affordable Care Act in March 2010, Senate Minority Mitch McConnell declared, "I think [our] slogan will be 'repeal and replace', 'repeal and replace.'" But now that the Supreme Court has largely upheld the dreaded Obamacare, Republicans have yet to decide what to replace it with. While House Speaker John Boehner joined the #FullRepeal chorus on Twitter to replace the ACA with nothing, Senate Republicans offered up their own package of proposals.

But if the Senate GOP's talking points about tax deductions for health insurance, health savings accounts, ending bans on pre-existing conditions, allowing insurance across state lines and draconian limits on malpractice awards sound familiar, they should. After all, during the Republicans' successful effort to smother "Hillarycare" in 1994, GOP strategist Bill Kristol authored an almost identical plan. And as it turns out, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney and almost every other leading Republican have been regurgitating the same tired sound bites ever since.

As Politico reported Wednesday, Senate Republicans—in anticipation of a favorable Supreme Court ruling that never came—prepared talking points for the "replace" part of their health care mantra:

Republicans will then try to highlight a series of health care ideas that have long been popular with their party as their preferred alternative, including by allowing small businesses "to pool resources to purchase health insurance" for employees, opening the door for health insurance to be purchased across state lines, targeting malpractice lawsuits against doctors, expanding health savings accounts and giving state governments unspecified "incentives" to lower costs.
Of course, for Republicans what is old is new. (Arguably, that's what makes them conservatives.) And what the GOP is offering now is little changed from what former Dan Quayle adviser and current Weekly Standard Bill Kristol laid out as a blueprint during the war over Bill Clinton's health reforms.

In his infamous December 3, 1993 memo titled "Defeating President Clinton's Health Care Proposal," Kristol warned Republicans that "The first step in that process must be the unqualified political defeat of the Clinton health care proposal":

Its passage in the short run will do nothing to hurt (and everything to help) Democratic electoral prospects in 1996. But the long-term political effects of a successful Clinton health care bill will be even worse--much worse. It will relegitimize middle-class dependence for 'security' on government spending and regulation. It will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government.
A month later, Kristol detailed "How to Oppose the Health Plan—and Why" with a set of bullet points that by now should look very familiar:
Reform insurance markets to make health insurance stable and portable
Limit pre-existing-condition restrictions under employer health plans
Eliminate barriers to small business insurance pools
Lower insurance premiums by making them tax-deductible
Permit the establishment of medical savings accounts
Reduce costs through malpractice reform
Simplify health care paperwork through administrative reforms
Reduce Medicaid and Medicare expenses by lifting the regulatory burden on states
Provide health insurance tax credits or vouchers to low-income families
Almost 20 years later, Mitt Romney's plan isn't exactly a cut and paste from Kristol, but it's pretty close.

The Washington Post's Ezra Klein noted that the Romney campaign's 330 word description doesn't offer many details on his scheme to "replace Obamacare." As Klein explained:

Those words are enough to lay out a basic vision. Romney would turn Medicaid over to the states and -- though this appears in a separate policy paper -- cap its growth at inflation plus 1 percent, which would mean deep cuts to the program. He would allow private insurance to be sold across state lines, meaning that if health-care insurers find the rules in California too onerous, they can locate in South Dakota instead. This is basically how credit cards work today. He would cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits and encourage "Consumer Reports-type" ratings of health plans. The broad idea, his campaign says, is to make the market for health insurance look more like the market for things that aren't health insurance.

But the key to his plan comes in these nine words: "End tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance." The problem is, there aren't any words after that.

As it turns out, Mitt Romney—or at least the 2012 edition of him—is largely recycling President Bush's disastrous prescription for health care, one which was also championed by John McCain four years ago. Despite the clear success of his popular Massachusetts program in reducing both the ranks of the uninsured and the rate of growth of costs, Romney has largely repackaged Bush's stillborn proposals. That litany includes selling insurance across state lines, enacting draconian curbs on malpractice awards, supporting tax-free health savings accounts (HSAs) and, most importantly, giving tax deductions to individuals to private insurance while ending them for businesses. (The most generous estimates forecast that the Bush plan would have enabled insurance coverage for only 9 million of the 50 million people currently lacking it.) And as the Los Angeles Times explained, Romney's $1 trillion Rx could prove catastrophic:
Critics and independent analysts say the impact would probably leave a larger number of Americans without insurance...While offering consumers more choices, Romney's plan would give companies strong incentives to stop providing insurance to workers. It also would overhaul the 46-year-old Medicare and Medicaid programs for the elderly, poor and disabled.
It's no surprise Klein asked, "Do Republicans Really Want Universal Health Care?"

In the wake of today's Supreme Court ruling, Romney and the Republicans are proposing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with a set of talking points first crafted almost two decades before its passage. To put it another way, the more things change, the more things stay the same.

Then again, that's what makes them Republicans.

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 10:34 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Kristol says it all ... (3+ / 0-)
    It will relegitimize middle-class dependence for 'security' on government spending and regulation. It will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests.
    And with that, he confirms that the Republicans want there to be no middle class; only serfs and royalty.

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 10:41:02 AM PDT

    •  there's a bigger problem though (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      memophage

      The only reason why the middle class survives is because the two parties can't agree on how to get rid of that nuissance.

      If we really wanted a middle class, we'd drastically increase the federal minimum wage.  Instead we use programs to give the working poor government assistance.  The problem with this is that this taxes the small independent shop-owner to pay the Walmart worker because Walmart dosn't want to pay this.  It's thus a way to transfer money from the middle class to the wealthy.  Add to this paying interest on the national debt to wealthy investors and.....

      That's a shell game if there ever was one.

      if we want to help the poor and help the middle class we need to rethink this.  The only aid we should try to give the working poor is a raise by raising up the minimum wage.  That doesn't mean get rid of the other programs, but it means raise the minimum wage to reduce applicable participants.

      I am sure that folks here agree with the idea we should have a minimum wage such that working people don't need other assistance, so what are we going to do about it?

      •  Interesting point (0+ / 0-)

        Thank you for pointing that out, it's a way of looking at the issue I hadn't thought about.

        That's really the crux of the issue - what level of work do we expect as a society for people to be able to afford to live?  If we want people to be able to afford to support themselves and, say, one child each on a 40hr/week job, then we need to adjust minimum wages or else some people will always, by definition, be incapable of not being poor.

        Social assistance programs for the poor really should be temporary "band-aid" programs, necessary only when people are incapable of working - large groups of people being hit hard through no fault of their own (such as natural disaster, or major industry closures), or individuals with injuries, mental illness, etc.  But they should have a specified target exit date, or at least criteria to be met for when they're no longer necessary.

        That would require significant coordination, planning, and passing necessary legislation that I don't think our current government can handle though.

    •  Thanks for that quote from Kristol (0+ / 0-)

      It's too late for me to recommend your post, so consider this a +1.

      I wrote about this during the Health Care debate, quoting more of Kristol.

      The Sum of All GOP Fears

      Now we have to make that happen by making sure that everybody knows what the ACA is doing for them and theirs, even if they don't care about the poor.

      Hands off my ObamaCare[TM]

      by Mokurai on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 10:54:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  PS: edit needed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Perr aka Avenging Angel

    You wrote:

    It's no Klein asked, "Do Republicans Really Want Universal Health Care?"
    My guess is you left out the word, "surprise".

    "People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people." --V

    by MikeTheLiberal on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 10:42:35 AM PDT

  •  Malpractice reform is a loser (5+ / 0-)
    A new study has found no evidence that health- care costs in Texas dipped after a 2003 constitutional amendment limited payouts in medical malpractice lawsuits, despite claims made to voters by some backers of tort reform.
    That group [conducting the study] - consisting of two Republicans, a Democrat and a foreign national, according to the researchers - used "cutting- edge" research tools that enabled them to analyze data at the county level in Texas, said Tom Baker, author of the 2005 book "The Medical Malpractice Myth" and a professor of law and health sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.

    "This is a very highly regarded study, and this team is highly regarded," Baker said. The study was paid for by the researchers' universities, Silver said, and the paper was published this month in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

    http://insurancenewsnet.com/...

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 10:43:14 AM PDT

  •  Since this is now the GOP's top priority (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina

    I guess Taxmegeddon aka the Fiscal Cliff is no longer a threat

    Not blaming Bush for the mess we're in, is like not blaming a train engineer for a fatal train wreck because he's no longer driving the train.

    by JML9999 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:24:53 PM PDT

  •  Welcome to the front page! (6+ / 0-)

    It's never not nerve-wracking.

    The GOP response to the SC decision has, shall we say, not made our country look very sane to the rest of the world.

    -

  •  good post. (4+ / 0-)

    congrats on becoming a frontpager.  Glad you had the Kristol quote about what successful HCR would do to the Republicans.  If ee can get throughthis election, re -elect Obama,  the demo changes and ACA means the Rs maybe screwed for a while, even with their millions.

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:29:12 PM PDT

  •  Did you mean to say (3+ / 0-)

    "Despite the clear success of his popular Massachusetts program in reducing both the ranks of the insured and the rate of growth of costs" ?

    I think you wanted to say "uninsured" rather than insured.

    Thanks for a great diary.

  •  Of Course They Have A Plan (4+ / 0-)

    1. Pray that people don't get sick.

    2. Pray for people who do get sick.

    3.  Allow all CITIZENS to live within 250 miles of an emergency room.

    4.  Allow all CITIZENS to buy drugs in US pharmacies at what ever rate is prevailing.

    5. Allow insurance companies to do whatever they want to do.

    "We borrow this Earth from our Grandchildren."

    by Arizona Mike on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:35:58 PM PDT

    •  addendum to #4 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jethrock, Leap Year

      Allow all pharmacists to consult their conscience before dispensing prescribed medications, and deny them to the patient/customer at will.

      Tell the people you love that you love them when you can. You don't always get another chance.

      by Melanie in IA on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:48:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  addendum to your addendum (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Melanie in IA, Mokurai
        consult their conscience
        I would rephrase that to "consult their spiritual advisor or the pharmaceutical company that is giving them financial kickbacks to push their drugs"

        Anyway... that's my take.

        Love will save you from the cold light of boring reality... But it won't save me -- SWANS

        by jethrock on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:58:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is this your first diary on FP? (6+ / 0-)

    If not, I apologize for being out of the loop since kos's announcement.

    Thank you and a very welcome addition to intellectual analysis other than my own. :-D

    We can laugh at Romney -- but we should remain vigilent.  Money and stupidity still have tremendous influence in this very sad but beloved, to me, country.

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:36:54 PM PDT

  •  "What's old is new" (0+ / 0-)

    True, as far as it goes.

    On the other hand, Bismarck passed health care legislation in the 1880s and, as President Obama has noted, Teddy Roosevelt championed national health care more than 100 years ago.

  •  Isn't that just a less ambitious version... (0+ / 0-)

    ... of what we got?  Plus irrelevant malpractice limits and health savings accounts?

  •  I would love to see someone effectively take on (2+ / 0-)

    the "Tort Reform" argument. Or as Frank Luntz is trying to reframe the issue as "Lawsuit Abuse Reform"

    Tort Reform does nothing but limit patients ability to sue if they show up for an operation and the wrong limb gets amputated.  Or the wrong drug was prescribed that has adverse effects. Or the surgeon accidentally sows you up with with the scalpel left inside. You get the idea.

    It is true that malpractice insurance costs are through the roof. I met a Doctor that had moved to New Mexico from Texas because he simply couldn't afford the Texas insurance.

    This is a real problem.

    But the Republican's answer is to take away rights from patients.

    The real answer is to take on the for-profit insurance companies that are jacking up rates on doctors and healthcare providers.

    Love will save you from the cold light of boring reality... But it won't save me -- SWANS

    by jethrock on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:46:27 PM PDT

    •  Republican Malpractice Myths (5+ / 0-)

      For what it's worth, in 2009 I put together a piece on Republican Malpractice Myths.

      The piece has the details and data, but here are the top myths debunked:

      1. An Explosion of Malpractice Litigation
      2. A System Plagued by Frivolous Lawsuits
      3. Rising Damage Awards Key to Higher Malpractice Premiums
      4. Rising Malpractice Insurance Rates Driving Doctors from Practice
      5. Medical Malpractice Reform Would Save U.S. $200 Billion Annually
      6. Defensive Medicine Costs $200 Billion a Year

    •  It has been done quite effectively (0+ / 0-)

      New study: Tort reform has not reduced health care costs in Texas

      It has, of course, reduced the number of lawsuits.

      Since tort reform, some Texas residents have complained that they cannot find a lawyer to pursue a malpractice case because of the $750,000 cap on payouts for pain, suffering, disfigurement and mental anguish. The limit often makes litigation cost prohibitive, patients and lawyers said. That concern was not raised in the paper, although the researchers said claims of huge malpractice payouts and rampant "frivolous" lawsuits before tort reform are greatly exaggerated by its advocates.
      In other words, Working as Designed.

      Paper published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

      See also the 2005 book, The Medical Malpractice Myth, by Tom Baker

      Hands off my ObamaCare[TM]

      by Mokurai on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 11:23:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  MSAs/HSAs suck (5+ / 0-)
    Some consumer organizations, such as Consumers Union, and many medical organizations, such as the American Public Health Association, oppose HSAs because, in their opinion, they benefit only healthy, younger people and make the health care system more expensive for everyone else. According to Stanford economist Victor Fuchs, "The main effect of putting more of it on the consumer is to reduce the social redistributive element of insurance."
    Critics contend that low-income people, who are more likely to be uninsured, do not earn enough to benefit from the tax breaks offered by HSAs. These tax breaks are too modest, when compared to the actual cost of insurance, to persuade significant numbers to buy this coverage.
    One industry study matched HSA account holders to the neighborhood income ("neighborhood" was defined as their census tract from the 2000 Census) and found that 3% of account holders lived in "low-income" neighborhoods (median incomes below $25,000 in 1999 dollars), 46% lived in lower-middle-income neighborhoods (median incomes between $25,000 and $50,000), 34% lived in middle-income neighborhoods (median incomes between $50,000 and $75,000), 12% lived in upper-income neighborhoods (median incomes between $75,000 and $100,000) and 5% lived in higher income neighborhoods (median incomes above $100,000).
    In testimony before the US Senate Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Health in 2006, advocacy group Commonwealth Fund said that all evidence to date shows that health savings accounts and high-deductible health plans worsen, rather than improve, the US health system's problems.
    HSA funds that are not held in savings accounts insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation are subject to market risk, as is any other investment. While the potential upside from investment gains can be viewed as a benefit, the subsequent downside, as well as the possibility of capital loss, may make the HSA a poor option for some.

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 06:53:20 PM PDT

    •  The other part is that they require you to have (4+ / 0-)

      cash up front rather than distributing your cost over the year like regular insurance does.

      For example, say your prescriptions are $400 a month in retail cost - a very very ordinary and common level for many conditions. (Could be higher if you have kids who get prescriptions.)

      You have a $2000 deductible which goes with a $2000 HSA, and nothing is covered until you meet the deductible.

      For the first 5 months you have to come up with at least $400 a month (plus the fees for the HSA) for your prescriptions, and then after you meet the $2k, the insurance plan picks up some or all of it.

      If you're relatively well off with good cash flow, you can do that. But if you're just scraping by, the extra $400 in the first months may go on a credit card so you can spread it out, which ends up wiping out your tax advantage pretty quick. It may also mean you do without prescriptions  or get them late because you don't have the money or you don't have it in the right account.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:16:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  well, they implemented one part (0+ / 0-)

    the tax cuts to pay for it
    oh wait...

  •  Cross state lines analysis? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    Is there any information on the the proposal to allow insurance companies to sell across state lines? What effects would that have?

    •  cross state lines (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling

      The emphasis should be on the "sell" -- if you can take a lowball 'insurance" product like AFLAC or an essentially useless high-deductible, no drugs, difficult to actually access policy that one of our more anti-regulatory lobbyist-governed states has approved and market it in all 50 states as close to the line to consumer fraud as you can get away with, you can make a mint by promising cheap health insurance.  My office gets a junk fax a week from "get health insurance for $5 a week" fly-by-night operators -- who will NEVER even be around to deny payments on any health cae bill, asssuming they don't drain your credit balances and bank accounts in the first week --this is the epitome of Republican health care "reform."

      When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called "the People's Stick." ~ Mikhail Bakunin

      by Sick Semper on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:19:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What effect would selling across state lines have? (4+ / 0-)

      Look at what happened with credit cards. When they were allowed to, they all flocked to the states with the least regulation. Some states actually still have usury laws on the books, but even if you live in one of those states, the law has no effect on the rate or fees on your credit card -- they're all based in South Dakota.

      IOW, insurance companies would all base themselves in states that allowed them to cover as little as possible at as great a cost to you (and as little to them) as they could manage. What you'd get is your basic race to the bottom.

      This is an old post from Ezra Klein that explains what would happen rather well.

      •  The net effect is that you're regulated (0+ / 0-)

        without representation.

        That is, if your credit card is out of say, South Dakota, the South Dakota legislature decides the rules for you. You as a resident of a different state have no influence on the SD legislature, where the company's SD-based employees probably are close to  1:1 parity with its SD-based credit card customers.

        So instead of your health care being regulated by Congress or your state representative, say your health care would be regulated by the part-time Texas legislature. I'm sure that can only work out for the best.

        And how much trouble do you think your Texas-based health plan is going to go to to ensure that there is a full range of covered health care services in your community of Small Town, Maine? What if halfway through the year they drop all their in-network Maine providers?

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 10:55:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Selling across state lines will accomplish nothing (0+ / 0-)

      One of the problems with this particular Republican "solution" is that it neglects the impact of provider networks on the health insurance market.  One reason why the health insurance market is so concentrated in most states (typically, 2 or 3 companies control 75% or more of the market) is because of the cost and difficulty of negotiating and putting in place the providers networks that insurance patients can use to get "in network" rates.

      So, yeah, an insurance plan from, say, Oklahoma, would be able to come down to North Texas and start selling insurance at very little cost -- but why would anyone in Dallas be interested in buying insurance where the nearest in network providers are in Ardmore, OK?  Effectively, you'd have to either pay the higher out of network rates or drive 100 miles to see a doctor.

      And if that Oklahoma insurance plan went into North Texas and started negotiating with providers to set up a network, they would lose their cost advantage quickly enough.  So the bottom line is that this is one more Republican "solution" that would solve nothing.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 08:46:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Retorical Questions (0+ / 0-)

    If the Republican Party was Sooooo Concerned about
    Healthcare, then WHY didn't they HELP get the
    current law Passed ?

    Now that have a Healthcare Plan that was Passed
    by Congress and Aproved By the Supreme Court,
    WHY do we need Another Plan ?

    Just Asking.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:06:39 PM PDT

    •  Because anything the Brown Man signed into law (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mokurai

      is bad.  End of story.

      I wish that were snark, but it really IS that simple.

      •  There is actually a second reason (0+ / 0-)

        For all the crocodile tears you hear from Republicans who would be so, so quick to give us real health care if it were not for that evil Kenyan in the White House and his Socialist minions in Congress, real health care is The Sum of All GOP Fears that the American people would actually like a government program created by Democrats. Bill Kristol said so. In 1994, about the Clinton health plan. Why, it could even lead to raising the minimum wage, or union rights, or women's rights, or The Dream Act, or even, perish forbid, Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, or...Wait a minute. When did the '60s happen, again?

        Hands off my ObamaCare[TM]

        by Mokurai on Sat Jun 30, 2012 at 11:32:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've had a Health Savings Account (0+ / 0-)

    It was a nightmare of paperwork, cash flow, inconvenience, and fees.

    It works fine for people who aren't actually going to spend the money in their HSA - that is, for people who just want to use it as a tax-deductible savings vehicle and pay medical bills out of pocket rather than spending money out of the account. For people who actually spend the deductible, it is a big hassle and made simple things hard - like me picking up a prescription for DH. In addition, the HSA as stands has to be held separately by each adult, and children can't have one, so even though our daughter had an additional deductible, there was no option to contribute HSA dollars for her - she had to share our accounts.

    The banks were always confused about how to run them, it was hard to put money in them, they cost $3 a month, and we had obnoxious issues when there was an unexpected $500 pharmacy bill on a Saturday when the bank was closed. We had our two HSAs, and we tried two different banks. Both sucked in different ways. One of the banks only accepted deposits online or via mail and took several days to clear them.

    The HSA made me literally crying in frustration several times, and I do not cry easily.

    It made our taxes messier and was much weirder than I expected with the various paperwork for that.

    And then when we changed plans and could no longer legally contribute, spending the account down precisely and legally and closing it was inconvenient too.

    For a party that is allegedly all about streamlining and eliminating bureaucracy, an HSA is an odd place to hang their hats.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:07:28 PM PDT

  •  I'm a lawyer, my wife's a doctor (0+ / 0-)

    and I'm pro-tort reform.  My wife's hospital is constantly engaged in frivolous lawsuits and she has the honor of being deposed for the first time in a few months, along with several of her colleagues, simply because their names appear somewhere in a patient's files.  She and all the other doctors there have been advised by the hospital's financial advisors to engage in some ridiculously complex asset restructuring (putting homes and other property in a corporation or trust, etc.) so that, if and when they are sued sometime in the future, which will undoubtedly happen, there is no risk that they will lose everything they have.  

    I don't pretend to believe that capping malpractice liability will significantly decrease medical costs, but anyone who believes that there is not a serious problem with malpractice liability needs to wake up.  Doctors assume hundreds of thousands of dollars in college and medical school debt, work for below minimum wage for many years (including all of the hours that they do not report in order for the hospitals to comply with work hours laws), and then, in exchange for saving many lives and dedicating themselves to public service, stand to lose everything in the few instances where something goes wrong, even when they are not at fault.  It is a ridiculous burden for anyone to bear and frankly I am surprised that anyone wants to be a doctor in this country.

    The pleasure of hating...eats into the heart of religion...[and] makes patriotism an excuse for carrying fire, pestilence, and famine into other lands. - W. Hazlitt

    by rfahey22 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:11:05 PM PDT

    •  Why not take on the insurance companies? (2+ / 0-)

      They are the ones making healthcare unaffordable for both patients and doctors.

      Tort Reform as proposed by Republicans is NOT the answer to this problem.

      Yes there may be a few "frivolous" lawsuits.

      But what about taking away patients rights?

      My Mother died from misdiagnoses. She was prescribed chemotherapy for something she never had.

      She died at 55 years young from kidney failure as a side effect from years of treatment of chemo.

      It turned out she had spinal nerve problem, but it wasn't learned until years and years later. After her kidney's were already fucked (we're talking about a woman that never had a drink in her life).

      Once we found out... it was too late. As a family we discussed a potential lawsuit. It was my Mom's decision not to fight... not to sue. She didn't want to spend her last days in a court battle. She was fighting to live.

      My sisters and I chose not to pursue legal action. But Boy Howdy did we have a case.

      In a twist of fate the Doctor that had misdiagnosed her and treated her for over a decade died in a motorcycle accident a month after my Mom died.

      What you may call "frivolous" may involve other folks real lives.

      Love will save you from the cold light of boring reality... But it won't save me -- SWANS

      by jethrock on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:32:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  p.s. What you just described is exactly why (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle

      we need affordable education in this country.

      And a healthcare system that isn't based on profit.

      Tort reform goes in exactly the wrong direction.

      Love will save you from the cold light of boring reality... But it won't save me -- SWANS

      by jethrock on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 07:52:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  p.s.s. As a lawyer, why don't you fight for (2+ / 0-)

      penalties that make anyone who files a truly frivolous or fraudulent lawsuit pay the expense and the lawyer fees?

      To me that would be true "Tort Reform"

      If you don't have a case and you sue and you lose... you pay.

      Seems like a no-brainer to me. But then again I'm not a Republican trying to restrict the peoples constitutional right to the courts.

      Love will save you from the cold light of boring reality... But it won't save me -- SWANS

      by jethrock on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:11:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What? No answer? I have an idea for Tort Reform... (0+ / 0-)

      Why not make any Lawyer who knowingly makes a frivolous or fraudulent case pay the expenses of the defendant?

      Yes. Fine the attorney.

      You think that might deter some of the "frivolous cases" you are complaining about?

      Still no answer?

      Love will save you from the cold light of boring reality... But it won't save me -- SWANS

      by jethrock on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:34:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ummm saying this... (0+ / 0-)
      and then, in exchange for saving many lives and dedicating themselves to public service, stand to lose everything in the few instances where something goes wrong, even when they are not at fault
      Um... that's like saying "But I've been a good driver for 20 years... this is my first accident"

      Yeah, I'm sure the driver didn't MEAN to turn the wrong way down a one way street and kill people. But they did.

      I bolded the most egregious part of your statement... but left "even when they are not at fault"

      Well... if they are NOT at fault. They should NOT be held accountable for something they didn't do. And a good lawyer or even our worst courts should absolve them of those accusations.

      And they should win the legal battle. Right?

      I would love it if you provided examples of actual cases where Doctors were sued and lost in cases of malpractice that they had nothing to do with.

      You make it sound like a very widespread problem.

      Tort Reform restricts honest claims from ever seeing the light of day. Plain and simple.

      Love will save you from the cold light of boring reality... But it won't save me -- SWANS

      by jethrock on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 09:20:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Furthermore, as honorable as being a Doctor is... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mokurai

      you can't claim it's a "public service" as long as it's for a for-profit hospital. Paid for by the consumers.

      If it's a VA hospital you could make that claim.

      If we had a single payer healthcare system you could make that claim.

      If your wife was a Doctor at a charitable organization she could almost make that claim.

      A public service is our roads, our fire departments, our libraries... But not our healthcare.

      Yet many of us Liberals have fighting to change that.

      Love will save you from the cold light of boring reality... But it won't save me -- SWANS

      by jethrock on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 09:42:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry about going off on this... (0+ / 0-)

      If you couldn't tell, it's an issue I'm passionate about.

      Best-- j

      Love will save you from the cold light of boring reality... But it won't save me -- SWANS

      by jethrock on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 10:22:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Current structure means that lawsuits go forward (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mokurai

      based on the size of the possible damages rather than the gravity of the medical error or the relative negligence of the practitioner.

      IE, gerontologists are almost never sued, and obstetricians are frequently sued. Why? Because if a gerontologist makes a mistake that leads to the death of an 85-year-old, there are almost no damages. This person is not supporting a family. Future life expectancy was short. Obstetricians may just be unlucky enough to attend a birth where something small went wrong and the baby is born needing lifelong round-the-clock medical care with a life expectancy of 40 years. And the family in this case has few options other than to sue... because what young family has $500,000 a year to care for a severely disabled baby? Even if they have health insurance and are able to keep it, the round-the clock care that is never covered could push into 6 figures. And even if the family doesn't sue, the family's health insurer (who is now stuck with this kid) probably will.

      Universal healthcare will help for this just because at least the medical expenses will be covered in the case of medical errors and mistakes. Lawyers won't work for 30% of $0.

      It's not so much that we need a cap on awards, but a different system altogether for evaluating and correcting mistakes. Staff need to be open about mistakes so they can be corrected and eliminated. People who are careless or negligent should be disciplined by other doctors. People who have health problems that result from treatment need to have access to health care in some sort of no-fault system, instead of having us all waste time and money bickering about who will pay. In the end, we will all pay anyway in higher costs somewhere. Let's just admit it and move on.

      By the way, there are studies that show that hospitals that admit mistakes and reveal them to patients and show what measures they're taking to avoid future problems have fewer lawsuits.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:07:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bill Kristol, Liberal Health Care Hero! (0+ / 0-)

    Three cheers Bill!

    NOW SHOWING
    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:03:27 PM PDT

  •  Junior O'Daniel (0+ / 0-)

    Now running strategy for the GOP, with no Pappy to set him straight....

    We could hire our own midget, even shorter than his.

    Wouldn't we look like a bunch of Johnny-come-late-lies, bragging on our own midget, doesn't matter how stumpy.

    It's a dead issue, except they don't have anything else. The economy should be the number one campaign issue but... BAIN! Nobody wants an outsourcer-in-chief, and everybody has had to work for (and been laid off by) an incompetent, entitled dickweed like RMoney. So they'll flounder around until Nov 6 with a whole lot of nothing.

    "Wake up Democrat"

    by ILDem on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 08:09:14 PM PDT

  •  Congratulations on your first FP post. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock

    Many at Diary Rescue have been hoping this would be your place to write. Your research and illustrations really help us grasp complex topics .

    Thank you so much.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 11:20:17 PM PDT

  •  Bravo to all! Make this a flyer! (0+ / 0-)

    If only Americans realized how good all the other industrialized nations have it........

    For people who don't believe in Darwin, the Right-Wing certainly seem to be trying to do a Darwinian experiment on society.....survival of the fittest......

    You'll enjoy the video on this page, history of National Health Service in Great Britain...how they did it:
    NHS
    http://www.nhs.uk/...

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