And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Archive for the ‘Tort Reform Needed’ Category

A Conservative solution to our health care problems is what is needed now I have heard people say.  Well there has been this Conservative solution since before Obamacare was forced thru the Congress by the Democrats who were in control of both houses and the Presidency.  These same Democrats who refused to allow any  Republican input at all during the drafting of this bill.  the same Democrats who refused to be bothered reading the 2000+ page bill that they passed without one Republican vote for it. If you check back on this blog site you will see the Republican plans and proposals that were submitted in both the House and the Senate that were never allowed by the Democrat leaders to see the light of day.  They were trash canned.  What we got stuck with is a so-called  Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) that we are now finding out is not at all affordable  for  the few people who have been able to get a look  at  the available plans on a web site set up to show these plans to people and allow them to enroll in and purchase insurance.   There  were,  we are now being told,  all of 6 people in the entire country who managed to enroll in Obamacare and purchase an insurance policy the first day before the site crashed and burned.  The same web site that cost $6 billion  and three years to get up and running but isn’t running at all.  The web site that was built by a Canadian company  but is now being fixed by what the President assures us are experts, or this same Canadian company.  Funny I thought the “experts” on the Internet and building programs for the Internet would be the very Americans who built the Internet in the first place.  Guess none of these people had a friend in the White House.  Or maybe they were willing to take less time and cost less money to build a web site that  probably would have worked almost as well as the Internet they built in the first place.  Ya think??  But no “friend” in the WH gets no contract.

The following letter is from Jim DeMint who outlines the Republicans and Conservatives Healthcare Plan that is affordable and available and more important, Constitutional.  Please check it out.  BB

The Conservative Alternative to Obamacare11/01/13Dear friends,We’ve been very critical of Obamacare because it’s hurting Americans. But that has caused some to ask, “What’s your alternative?”

The truth is, we’ve always had alternatives, but our critics weren’t ready to listen. Now, the disastrous rollout of Obamacare has a lot of people asking for alternatives to government-run health care. And conservatives are ready.

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With each passing day, it becomes clearer that Obamacare will not reduce premiums for average American families, bring down health care spending, or truly improve health care in this country. Instead, people are receiving notices from their insurance companies that their policies are being canceled or their premiums are skyrocketing.

At The Heritage Foundation, we are envisioning a health care system where you and your family come first.

What if you could choose and control your own health insurance? What if you could buy the insurance and health care services you want and need? What if your health insurance didn’t go away when you changed jobs?

The good news is, all of these things are possible. There can be life after Obamacare—and it doesn’t mean going back to the status quo that we had before. We can move ahead, taking the best health care system in the world and making it even better.

Our experts in the Center for Health Policy Studies have put together a new paper that explains how these conservative ideas work. It includes:

  • How we will help people with pre-existing conditions
  • How we will help you keep your health insurance when you change jobs
  • How we can lower costs and improve health care quality—no matter what your income is
  • How we can honor people’s faith and protect the right of conscience in health care

We are excited to share this set of commonsense solutions with you—not just because they are good public policy solutions, but because they bring hope. We have hope for life after Obamacare, and these policies would give you back control over your own health care.

Now that’s worth working toward. I hope you’ll join us.

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Jim DeMint

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» Jury Damage Award Could Close California Healthcare Facilities – Big Government.

We have an out of co0ntrol torte system that MUST be fixed.  Congress can take care of this easily with restrictions on the amount of the awards and restrictions on how much the lawyers take is, but Congress is made up of lawyers.  The story below is not unusual, in fact it is played out every day as people sue companies or businesses and the jury awards cause them to simply go bankrupt and out of business.

Jury Damage Award Could Close California Healthcare Facilities

by Warner Todd Huston

When companies are found to have violated regulations that govern their industry, is it right that a jury of non-experts can award damages the amount of which will wipe the company off the face of the earth? That is a question that has been raised in a case recently decided against Skilled Healthcare LLC of California.

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A class action lawsuit (lawsuit info here) brought by trial lawyers was filed late last year against Skilled Healthcare of California claiming that the company had violated state regulations that stipulates that nursing homes must maintain 3.2 nursing hours per patient, per day (ppd). The lawsuit claimed that the nursing homes operated by Skilled Healthcare often did not meet the requirement.

Interestingly, there was never any claim from any patient that they’d been harmed or put in danger. Not a single patient claimed personal injury before these lawyers began to file their class action lawsuit.

After a six-month trial the jury decided that the company did violate the rules and awarded the plaintiffs $613 million in statutory damages and $58 million in restitutionary damages.

There is a problem with this award, however. The company only has borrowing credit of $94 million. If the company were to be held to this outrageously high award it would go bankrupt and would be forced to close its doors.

Not only that but some 32,000 people — patients/residents and healthcare workers alike — would lose their heatlhcare facilities and jobs if this award were enforced.

Does this make sense?

Now, I’ve looked at many stories about this lawsuit and cannot find any claims by the State of California that Skilled Healthcare LLC was found wanting during any of the many surprise inspections of the company’s 22 healthcare facilities. I have seen no evidence from state regulators that any citations were issued or that there has been any allegations that the nursing homes in question violated any statutes.

Skilled Healthcare has reported that it has passed all inspections. That’s notable because the healthcare industry in California is almost as highly regulated as the state’s nuclear power industry.

Yet six healthcare clients from Humbolt County, CA have been allowed the status for the levy of an award so great that it will wipe the corporation of the face of the earth?

The California Association of Health Facilities agrees that this lawsuit makes no sense. James Gomez, CEO and President of the CAHF, called the whole thing “outlandish.”

The July 6, 2010 verdict against Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. and subsidiary Skilled Healthcare LLC is outlandish, excessive and extreme. The $671 million award of damages is disproportionate to the facts of the case. It’s a by-product of a series of unprecedented and erroneous rulings of law by the trial judge, and a jury that applied the flawed rulings to the maximum extent. These maximum damages were applied over a six year period to every patient in the 22 skilled nursing facilities, regardless of whether they were named in the complaint. More importantly, the allegations specifically excluded any assertion of harm.

Gomez also laments that if the judgment stands the healthcare company will be forced to close its doors causing the loss of thousands of jobs and putting the healthcare of thousands of patients in jeopardy.

And Gomez also reports that Skilled Healthcare LLC is “widely regarded as a good provider of skilled nursing care in California and elsewhere.”

The case, now concluded, is going into a mediation phase and the company hopes that the award will be lowered to one it could actually pay instead of the punitive one that they now face.

In the end this trial is evidence that this country needs some major tort reform. Here we had a company that was going about its business, and by all accounts has a good reputation in its industry yet found itself with a multi-million dollar award levied against it because of some trial lawyers that went ambulance chasing to float a class action lawsuit. And now thousands of people’s healthcare and livelihood is in jeopardy.

What are all theses elderly patients supposed to do if the company is forced to fold? And what of all the jobs lost in this, one of the worst economies in decades?

If the company was violating state regulations on the required number of nursing staff to patient ratios, then, sure, the state should force it to comply with regulations. No one would deny that fines of some sort would legitimately be part of such a finding. But this $671 million award is not corrective, it is destructive.

And what unforeseen consequences might this award have in the healthcare industry throughout California and the rest of the country? Will it drive costs up? Will it cause smaller healthcare facilities to just close up shop for fear of giant, punitive awards for minor infractions? And what other industries might next be a target of this class action feeding frenzy?

Questions that we would not be faced with were it not for an out of control tort system.


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