On Sunday, Rep. Paul Ryan promised, “No more crony politics” in his budget during TV interview. That promise lasted two days. Today, he released his budget, which would reward the pro-Obamacare (and pro-abortion) AMA and associated medical groups by capping what victims of healthcare malpractice can collect in lawsuits filed in state courts. Here’s the text on page 40 of Rep. Ryan’s draft budget for FY 2014:
“• Reform the medical liability system.
This budget also advances common-sense curbs on abusive and frivolous lawsuits. Medical lawsuits and excessive verdicts increase health-care costs and result in reduced access to care. When mistakes happen, patients have a right to fair representation and fair compensation. But the current tort litigation system too often serves the interests of lawyers while driving up costs. The budget supports several changes to laws governing medical liability, including limits on noneconomic and punitive damages.”
The plan ignores the opinions of the most respected Republican-side and libertarian legal experts who have repeatedly written that Congress has no authority to enact federal caps on medical malpractice lawsuits, especially under the majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s Obamacare opinion. Such a measure crushes states’ and individual rights and is an invalid exercise of the Commerce Clause.
The panoply of experts include Prof. Randy Barnett; Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli; legal experts Rob Natelson, John Baker and Carrie Severino; and Reps. Ted Poe, Louie Gohmert and Lee Terry, and Senators Tom Coburn and Mike Lee. The National Conference of State Legislators has always protested federal caps as a violation of the states’ right to operate their civil justice systems without federal interference. Tea party leaders such as Judson Phillips and the Tea Party Patriots criticized the passage of caps by the Republican House in the last session of Congress.
And federal caps on medmal damages are not supported by leading Republican-side healthcare experts. Avik Roy, Jim Capretta and Tom Miller don’t include it in any of their recent proposals. They know federal caps on medmal lawsuits do nothing to help improve the quality of medical care.
The Ryan budget is nothing more than a sop to doctors, insurance companies, drug and device companies, and nursing homes, ALL of whom supported the enactment of Obamacare and approval by the Supreme Court. The lust for campaign dollars ignores the Constitution and realities in the healthcare marketplace.
Republicans should reject Ryan’s Crony Politics and vote with the Founding Fathers.