There are many ways to assess a civilization. It all depends on your point of view. Some people believe we are advancing. These people point to a woman's "freedom to choose," more "rights" for those accused of crimes, and greater "tolerance." Other people believe we are declining. These people point to nearly a million babies killed every year, up to the time of birth and sometimes even after. They point to increasing reluctance of the law-abiding to rely on the legal system. They point to widespread cheating in schools, in business, in government, and in relationships.
The California Medical Association (CMA) has filed a federal lawsuit against the three largest for-profit national health plans in California for imposing unfair contract terms, unnecessarily denying and delaying payments for procedures patients need, and reimbursing physicians at rates that are insufficient to cover costs.
While both the Patients' Bill of Rights legislation, allowing patients to sue HMOs in state court for unlimited damages, and tort reform, providing physicians judicial relief in medical liability, have stalled in the 107th Congress this year --- these intertwined problems of health care litigation will not disappear for long from the political landscape.
The trend of enacting public policy by lawsuits went into high gear during the eight years of the Clinton-Gore administration, as frenzied attorney-litigators rolled over increasing numbers of unwary defendants.
Perhaps it is time we turn the ignition off to this litigation locomotive.
In the early spring of 1995, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan medical liability bill (tort reform) by a significant margin (247 to 171), despite a strong opposition by the trial lawyers. This legislation was a sweeping tort reform bill that would have gone a long way towards reforming medical "malpractice" and alleviating the adversarial and litigious climate in which physicians have been practicing medicine for the last three decades.