Earlier in the week, Anthony Tarricone, President of the American Association for Justice, published an article in the Huffington Post that makes a great observation. Before the health care bill passed, all opponents to health care reform wanted to talk about were “frivolous lawsuits” and the dire need for tort reform. Although numerous agencies have found that lawsuits and preventive medicine amount to less than 1% of our health care costs, the GOP insisted that frivolous lawsuits were what’s really wrong with the system, and that tort reform was the only solution.
Now that the bill has passed, these same people are flocking to hire lawyers and file lawsuits, claiming that the legislation is unconstitutional and that it violates states’ rights.
Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with parties using the legal system to solve disputes when no other solution is available. That’s why we have such a system in the first place. Our forefathers, for this very reason, created the judicial branch. Individuals, small businesses, corporations, and governments use it all the time.
But it’s awfully hypocritical for lawmakers to curtail Americans’ access to the civil justice system, and at the same time, file lawsuits to push their own self-serving agenda. While today they brand the health care bill as a "Washington takeover of health care" and that it violates states’ rights, just yesterday they wanted to enact sweeping federal tort reform and trump the wisdom of judges and juries in states or local communities. –Huffington Post
One major irony the article doesn’t mention is that if tort reformers had been more successful over the years at chipping away at states’ rights and Americans’ legal protections, there might be little or nothing they could do now to fight against the health care legislation in the courts.
I for one am grateful that there is plenty they can do, since it means that the rest of us haven’t lost our legal rights to the interests of big corporations.