Republicans, while opposed to the Affordable Care Act (affectionately known as Obamacare), have spent a lot of time trying to devise an alternative plan. The problem is so much of what makes up the ACA was originated by conservatives and Republicans that they are struggling to come up with a plan that they like that is significantly different from the ACA.
Having said that, there are a few ideas that don’t have Obama-cooties which Republicans continue to offer as the health care catholicon. The most prominent of these is tort reform.
The argument goes that the price of health care is so high because doctors practice “defensive medicine” by ordering unnecessary procedures to avoid litigation. Given their recent history we can assume that as soon as Democrats, and in particular Barack Obama, embrace tort reform, Republicans will turn against it.
The first problem with tort reform that will cause Republicans to turn against it is the fact that it is just more job-killing regulations. How many lawyers have to lose their jobs before we stop the madness? Not only does tort reform mean more regulations but it also interferes in the natural order of things – also known as the free market. If there are doctors who are bad at their jobs they should be sued and hospitals should fire them. Free-market style natural selection. Do we really want the government telling us what we can and cannot sue for? Every Republican knows that this will cost us our freedom on the eventual path to complete and total socialism.
Beyond that, tort reform removes the personal responsibility of doctors. If they aren’t held accountable for their actions, what incentive will they have to improve their performance? Just imagine if car companies had negotiated a tort reform deal with the government. Consider the case of the Ford Pinto. In the 1970′s the Pinto burst into flames in a rear collision due to poor placement of the gas tank. Ford did the math and decided that around 180 people might die and another 180 would have serious burns. They calculated the cost of settling these suits to be less than half of the cost of fixing the problem. To no one’s surprise Ford chose to save money over saving lives. It wasn’t until the court system awarded a victim of a Pinto fire more than 10 times what Ford had anticipated that they were really compelled to act. Losing millions is a powerful motivator to improve your product.
If we just look the other way and don’t require doctors to be responsible for their own actions doesn’t that essentially make us just like Nazi Germany? That’s what Ted Cruz might say after Democrats adopt tort reform.
Of course holding doctors responsible means some are going to be fired. The good news is this will help stamp out other systems that Republicans hate – unions and quotas. The American Medical Association convinced Congress to set a quota for the number of residents that are created each year. By artificially lowering the number of individuals in these programs, the AMA is able to manipulate the supply and demand curve which nets their members a premium for their services. This “doctor quota” will certainly lead to health-care rationing and no one wants that.
What will these lazy union workers demand next? End of life counseling, so they can kill grandma and save a few bucks?
Having the Democrat stamp of approval will also help Republicans find data that shows tort reform doesn’t work and, perhaps most damning, the courts have determined it to be unconstitutional. Many Republicans believe the ACA is unconstitutional even though the Supreme Court said otherwise. Just imagine how mad they will be to find out that tort reform actually is unconstitutional?
It is also important to remember that ACORN has most likely been linked to tort reform as evidenced by the photo below.
So Mr. President, I urge you to come out in support of tort reform as soon as possible. Conservatives already have plenty of reasons to hate this government overreach, but, much like immigration reform, cap and trade, the NSA spying program and the START treaty, your approval will be the light they need to see the error of their ways.