Tuesday, December 05, 2006

CT Activists Mobilize for Universal Heatlhcare

Several Grassroots are organizations are mobilizing for Universal Health care in CT. Paul Bass of the New Haven Independent has the details.


The strategy session took place Monday in a basement hall at Meriden's Mount Hebron Baptist Church. The setting was fitting for the coming quest. For universal health care to pass in the upcoming state legislative session -- and some leading politicians are indeed promising to try to make that happen -- activists from churches, urban minority communities, labor, and small businesses will need to present a sophisticated, sizeable, consistent campaign.

That's why organizers of the statewide effort have focused for the past year on building support groups among clergy, small business, unions and black and Latino organizations, with new activists like Ricardo Henriquez. Representatives of those groups comprised a big chunk of the activists who filled the Mount Hebron hall for the day-long strategey session Monday.


I've already asked you if CT should have universal health care. My next question is can we make it happen?

Source
Bass, Paul. "Activists Gear Up To Pass Universal Health". New Haven Independent. 12/05/06

73 comments:

Concerned Citizen said...

We already have universal health care in Connecticut.

It's just a system that provides care too late and at too high a cost. Patients get care at clinics and hospitals.

So the question ought to be what kind of health care system can we design and, then, how do we pay for it?

Anonymous said...

Half of the uninsured people in Connecticut are voluntarily uninsured. So in all their brilliance, legislators will attempt to enact a system, paid for by much higher taxes, that will cost more for the average citizen and not lower current costs, all so they can say that they passed "universal" health care and helped insure everyone in the State. Oh, and by forcing businesses to insure people, they'll drive even more jobs out of the State. All of this endorsed by lovable Jodi! What a great State.

bluecoat said...

I would like to be able to buy a policy without all the bells and whistles that the legislators - from both parties - have mandated the local insurers must sell me eventhough I don't want them!!!!

Gabe said...

Feel like sourcing the claim that half of the uninsured are voluntarily uninsured? Also, define voluntarily in the context you use it. Does voluntarily include people who want to have insurance but decide that the insurance options are too expensive, so they go without coverage?

Anonymous said...

The terms of the debate are a little off as "universal health care" typically means the government is, at one end of the spectrum, the insurer of last resort for the state's citizens and at the other end the single payor for health insurance (see Canada).

I think either end of the spectrum is a horrible idea that will degrade the quality of care in this state and drive more good jobs out of the state.

The better solution to get universal health care is to reduce costs, increase portability, increase HSA's, reduce regulations, let businesses put policies in individuals names, let businesses pool their resources to buy a policy. This last idea, and may of the others, have been blocked by Senate Dems in Washington who want everyone to have health care - but only if it is the government who pays for it.

Unfortunately Dems. have co-opted universal health care as a plank of their platform, when, in fact as a party they oppose most reasonable solutions to health care problems.

Matt said...

Well, "Anonymous 2:06," reducing regulations specifically leads to increased costs, decreased portability, and limitations on allowing businesses pooling resources to purchase policies.

Medical insurers are regulated because there is a strong financial disincentive to cover those who have known medical problems, are elderly, or use their healthcare coverage for frequent non-emergency doctor's visits.

Quite simply, a strict free-market approach to health insurance requires the ratepayer to recognize that there's a point where it's simply more profitable for the insurance company to simply let them suffer or die, or refuse to pay for coverage that has already been administered. This is why regulation of health insurance companies is necessary - to prevent suffering, death, or bankruptcy among those who purchase health insurance but never see the benefits of that insurance.

And how on earth is it that you're claiming Senate Democrats blocked businesses from bulk healthcare purchasing? Apart from the fact that forcing insurance companies to negotiate with collectives of businesses goes against your stated desire for less regulation and policies being issued under individuals' names, expanding bulk purchasing and price negotiation is the key component of Congressional Democrats' plan to reduce healthcare costs in America. And, in the minority, they would have been forced to filibuster that proposal in order to block it, which I've certainly never heard about. Do you have a link to back that assertion up?

Anonymous said...

Matt - I have not, nor do I propose a "strict free market" approach to health care. I simply propose reducing regulations on the most heavily regulated industry in America. I propose eliminating the cap on HSA's, I propose eliminating the limits on purchasing policies across state lines, I propose elimimating the prohibition on policies purchased by employers to be in the employers name only and yes, I propose eliminating the regulation that forbids businesses throughout the country from pooling their resources and reducing their risks to buy insurance coverage for their employees.

How, exactly will that increase costs and hurt the poor and increase the number of uninsured.

Now, the Dems. opposed all of those proposals which were contained in S.1955, proposed by Sen. Mike Enzi. They did it in the form of a filibuster. So I ask, why are Dems only for health care if it is the government who pays for it?

Matt said...

Boo hoo, the poor health insurance companies.

Enzi's bill was a dog and you know it. It did the checklist that you've listed, and if everyone used HSA's - paying for their own medical care - perhaps it would lower the cost of insurance. Because you'd be paying for your care out of your own pocket! And this is supposedly such a great innovation that it's worth completely eliminating all state health insurance laws nationwide.

That joke would neither lower costs or increase portability, at least for people who actually need health insurance. It certainly would have reduced regulations, though.

Anonymous said...

The uninsured need simple, low-cost, insurance to cover catastrophic illness or injury. The cost can probably come out of Medicaid waste and fraud. But the bleeding hearts won't be happy.

Anonymous said...

"The uninsured need simple, low-cost, insurance to cover catastrophic illness or injury."

I'm sorry, where is that stated in the Consitution? I missed it.

I have no insurance nor do I WISH TO BE A BURDEN on the states taxpayers.

It was my choice to make.

LitchfieldAngelina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gabe said...

Anon 6:07 - If you develop a long-term terminal illness or get in a catastrophic accident, how will you avoid being a burden on taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

litchfield...Don't bet against your Governor not signing the bill. Even if she don't, the votes will be there for a override. Maybe if Jodi plays real,real,real nice Dems won't send her a Millionaires tax :)

Anonymous said...

"If you develop a long-term terminal illness or get in a catastrophic accident, how will you avoid being a burden on taxpayers?"

I die, a rather simple concept no?

We all die sooner or later, it is part of life.

Gabe said...

I guess that the good doctors in the ER will somehow know that you don't want to be a burden on anyone and just, against all their training, just let you die.

Or, maybe, they will treat you and you, not having insurance, will become a burden to taxpayers.

Here is a simple concept for you to try out, care in an ER has a cost and if you don't have insurance, its a cost that will be borne by taxpayers. It was very noble of you to declare that you don't want to be a burden, here's to hoping you never need emergency medical care.

GMR said...

I would imagine that any universal health care coverage would exclude illegal immigrants. If such a plan included illegal immigrants, it would likely attract so many (especially ones that needed medical care) that the system would topple under their weight.

Now, how would costs of the health care system go down with universal health care?

One thing that proponents routinely cite is that there'd be more preventitive care, and thus fewer emergency room visits. While I certainly imagine that there are indeed many cases like this, I don't think everyone would go seek preventitive care, even if were freely available. The people you're talking about here have decided to eschew health insurance, so they probably don't put health care at the top of their list. I know, I know, they can't afford the insurance. I think that while there certainly are poeple who can't afford insurance, many can. As Massachusetts found out, they can afford it, they just want other stuff instead. A large portion of the uninsured in Massachusetts were single males in their 20s.

At this Site, you can type in your zip code and get health insurance quotes. For a 60 year old guy in Stamford, United Health has a basic plan of $177.15, while some plans go all the way up to $834 per month. If you're 30, you can get a basic plan for $44.04 per month. $231.77 is the highest cost plan if you're 30. So if you're making over, say, $12 per hour and you're 30, you should buy the insurance yourself if your employer doesn't. You can afford it.

But in any event, mandatory insurance (like Massachusetts) or universal health care would result in some more preventitive care, which would presumably lower the number of emergency room visits. However, don't expect it to be the panacea. Many people just aren't going to go to a yearly physical or do other preventitive things.

Other than this, I don't think that Universal care is going to lower the expenditures on health care. Maybe some administrative expenses, but maybe not: it might add more filing requirements. Doctor salaries won't be lowered, medical equipment won't be cheaper.

So while you might be able to argue that there'd be some savings with universal care (and there are numerous valid arguments against universal care and how it would add costs), it seems to be that Universal care would really just result in the shifting of the burden of paying for health care.

Anonymous said...

"Here is a simple concept for you to try out, care in an ER has a cost and if you don't have insurance, its a cost that will be borne by taxpayers."

Most hospitals are a *business*, if I should happen to need an ER they send a bill.

A simple concept yes?

Gabe said...

I gotcha - I was under the impression that uninsured people of all financial situations used emergency medicine - apparently its only those who can afford to pay their bills! Color me embarrassed. No state money expended on emergency medicine - what a relief!

Anonymous said...

Look I pay for major medical. I have a high deductible but that is because I never get sick and I am young so I do not need a co-pay. I own a home and I make a modest income, but I am living the American Dream. I do not spend money on dozens ofDVDs, Play Station 3 or other unncessary products. That way I can afford health insurance.

We should look at our personal budgets
instead of crying to the government.

Kleeto

Anonymous said...

C'mom Matt, you're better than that. Why exactly was the Enzi bill a dog? Do you really think raising the maximum on HSA's is a bad idea? There a a lot of young people who are forced into their employers health plan that provides them way too much coverage. Many of them will load up an HSA and buy catastrophic health insurance for FAR less than they pay now. It is also a personal account. Smells like portability and reduced consumer costs to me. Also, pooling is a greart idea. What is wrong with it? Again, these are good consumer based ideas that only require the federal government to reduce regulations and help consumers.

Bottom line: the Democrats will support "universal" health care only if it involves direct payment from the government. The one "solution" that is sure to fail.

The war is over Matt. The Communists lost. I suggest you do what your parents did and get a job, sir.

Anonymous said...

"We should look at our personal budgets
instead of crying to the government."

Bingo.

Want to lower healthcare?

Flatten the lawyer lobby and ambulance chasers.

Reduce the number of rediculous lawsuits and I suspect costs will drop.

Gabe said...

You may suspect it, but before your suspicion hardens into cetrainty, I would recommend Tom Baker's (UCONN Law professor and Insurance guru) The Medical Malpractice Myth.

A very interesting read (from the publisher):

Are there too many medical malpractice suits? No, according to Baker; there is actually a great deal more medical malpractice, with only a fraction of the cases ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Is too much litigation to blame for the malpractice insurance crisis? No, for that we can look to financial trends and competitive behavior in the insurance industry. Are these lawsuits frivolous? Very rarely. Point by point, Baker—a leading authority on insurance and law—pulls together the research that demolishes the myths that have taken hold about medical malpractice and suggests a series of legal reforms that would help doctors manage malpractice insurance while also improving patient safety and medical accountability. President Bush has made medical malpractice reform a priority in his last term in office, but if history is any indication, legislative reform would only worsen the situation and perpetuate the gross misunderstanding of it. The debate surely will be transformed by The Medical Malpractice Myth, a book aimed squarely at general readers but with radical conclusions that speak to the highest level of domestic policymaking.

bluecoat said...

Gabe: I have posted on med-mal in CT before. In addition to Baker's book there should be a discussion of CT's specific and very rigorous med-mal tort laws, which his book does not get into. There are no frivolous laws suites to speak of in CT when it comes to med-mal. Doctors think any lawsuit is frivoulous but I am talking about actuality in CT - and what a trial atty must do before even filing a med-mal suit is quite costly so filing a frivolous suit doesn't make much sense on a contingency basis anyway. There is some stuffhere

Buit on the other side of the equationauState ranks 5th ‘healthiest’
Abram Katz, Register Science Editor
12/06/2006
The uninsured are a problem but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water

Gabe said...

Bluecoat - I've heard a statistic quoted before that a certain (very high) percentage of med-mal cases come from a certain (very low) percentage of doctors - do you happen to know of a cite for that stat?

bluecoat said...

Gabe: you are correct about that and I beleive you can find stuff on that in Baker's book and possibly at the link i just left. Additionally becasue of the very strong and financially well heeled medical lobby in CT that spends more on lobbying than the trial lawyers - someone else can check if that's still the case in a state that ranks in the top of lobbying spending despite our small size - the DPH has been fairly lax in regulating a disciplining doctors; Ralph Nader haters take note: a comparison of medical boards by state and there is stuff at the CT trial lawyers, the Fairfield County Mediacl Assoc, the CT medical assn - and you can link to the AMA from there for some comparision of laws amaong the states - as well as a whole bunch of hype on the issue. My favorite is defensive medicine - it's bullshit when you analyze wht they are saying.

bluecoat said...

Gabe: there is another huge problem of sorting out who is responsible for what since most docs are individual legal entities; the insurance compaanies who are all about spreading risk around often try to bring everybody in, which then needs ot be sotrted out - and before my monitor chimes in, my college roommate is an executive in the claims adjustment business with 35 years experience in adjusting catastrophic and other losses - and it isn't all about getting your broken headlamp fixed when a deer jumps out in front of you like they show on the GEICO commercials - hurricanes , typhoons and yes, medmal.

and for some real life data on med-mal insurance here's doctor owned and operatedthe CT Medical Insurance Company; Warren Buffet just bought GE's med-mal unit and there is another player in CT too. The docs complain there aren't eneough insurers but the market's not all that big and the predatory/cyclical pricing that baker talks about was in play in CT, too.

bluecoat said...

I should add that CT is what I call a "lawyer state" where you almost need one to get a pass to the bathroom and that many lawyers are jerks but the notion that there are "ambulance chasers" is sheer nonsense. I don't know anybody at Casper and DeToledo but Casper is active in the medmal debate; I just Googled andthey have a blog (that i haven't read yet) so everybody can decide for themselves whether or not they are ambulance chasers or attorneys who run an honest business.

bluecoat said...

just to clarify - there is no evidence that ambulance chasers exist on med mal; they do exist elsewhere but only because they have CT docs to help them!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree that, as currently constituted, Conn.'s med mal laws play it pretty even. That said, the trial lawyers assoc. are constantly looking to make it easier to win these cases and we should be vigilent.

In terms of health care we are largely a victim of our own success. Because we allow our drug companies and medical equipment manufaturers to make a profit off of the development of new technoligies we actually have made unbelievable advancements in medicine. Unfortunately, for that very reason those advancements are expensive. It truly is a choice on a spectrum with continued advancement and quality care for a high price on one end and universal access and lower care with no advancement on the other.

bluecoat said...

That said, the trial lawyers assoc. are constantly looking to make it easier to win these cases and we should be vigilent.

Huh? the laws were just tightened up under Rell even more in favor of the docs - and the trial lawyers didn't object while the docs did. The activist docs are constantly trying to become less acountsble to the public under the guise of the patient doctor relationship. Only 2 out of 8 cases ever get filed on med-mal nationally and I expect more are deterred in CT. I know my case was because I made a full recovery - and it wasn't chump change that I lost becasue a doctor f--ked me up but state law says if your injuries aren't permanenet it's just tough shit. I am not supposed to be alive - or at least blogging.

Anonymous said...

Oh lawyers are not an issue? You should look into the asbestos scams being run and how much is being milked there.

bluecoat said...

Hey Rush Limbaugh: The scam side of the otherwise serious asbestos issue is being run with the help of doctor expert witnessess. And asbestos is not about med-mal or vice versa unless you want to say the docs who help in the scam are guilty of malpractice..

bluecoat said...

How did I miss this spin? I agree that, as currently constituted, Conn.'s med mal laws play it pretty even. the laws are totally tilted to the doctors in CT!!!! not to mention that juries are sympathetic to doctors unless he's a totla f--kup - when and if a case gets that far!!!

Anonymous said...

Slow down bluecoat, deep breathing.....

1) To say that juries are sympathetic to doctors is a bit of a stretch and has nothing to do with the way med. mal. laws are currently constituted. Juries are smarter than you think and they ususally make the right call.

2) How are the med. mal. laws titled in favor of doctors. Proving negligence is and has been the same for quite some time now. The prima facie elements haven't changed.

3) The question we are really asking is what are the laws regarding damages, specifically pain and suffering damages. There is a real and honest constitutional due process debate as to whether or not we should even have those in med. mal. cases (See Gore v. BMW). Further, if we do have limitless P&S damages it overwhelmingly favors plaintiffs, capping them doesn't "tilt" them totally in favor of doctors.

4) Are you saying that the trial lawyers assoc. isn't cobnstantly lobbying/litigating for pro-plaintiff rules????? If so you are naive. Doctors and insurance companies are doing the same. My only point is to watch these people carefully to make sure the system doesn't swing in favor of one group too far.

Anonymous said...

As for asbestos there is a clear and urgent need for a settlement fund. How many more companies should we bankrupt for using a substance that no one knew was dangerous when they used it?

bluecoat said...

Talk med/mal, which has its own set of personal injury rules,1:51

1. the negligence, which must be proved as you point out, must result in injuries that are permanent or death; if you recover as I did, it doesn't matter what your danages are you can't sue
2. juries find in favor of doctors roughtly 80% of the time
3. don't confuse CT with madison County, Illionois
4. the f--kups that end up in the system - about 300/year in CT for quite some time - are inexcusable.
5. as long as med-mal is aconsumer service then compensation for pain and suffering is appropriate for bad service; make it govt run healthcare then you can do you workmens' comp shit!!!!

bluecoat said...

I agree we need a settlement fund on the asbestos issue and the GOP needs to stop adding bullshit to the bill. And bankruptcy is about protection from creditors and more than one company has recovered quite well from the bankruptcy protection that they claimed to so that they could move on.

Or did you want to talk about individuals who file for bankruptcy becasue they can't pay their medical bills?

and what the hell does the asbestos issue have to do with med mal? except the doc who have been lying are guilty of medmal.

bluecoat said...

Oh, and I agreee that juries usually make the right call or at least err on the side of caution becasue as you must know most cases eevn if lost in court get settled. So if you think juries make the right call then why don't you trust them to assess P&S damages since it is about life or death, which has no regulalry defined monetary value? you spin well 1:51!!! do you do that in court too?

Anonymous said...

Bluecoat - They say a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters will eventually write the world's greatest novel. Your reply must have been their first draft - it makes absolutely no sense.

1. "the negligence.....must result in injuries that are permanent or death; if you recover as I did, it doesn't matter what your danages are you can't sue"

Huh? If you have damages resulting from the negligence of another you most certainly can sue. Negligence must result in some kind of injury. That's the only requirement. It is a prima facie element of the cause of action. That injury constitutes your damages. It need not be permananet or result in death. For instance, If you go to the doctor for shoulder surgery, they commit malpractice and you need extensive rehab to fix it you can still sue them and recover. Even though the damage is not permanent you can recover for loss of the use of the shoulder, missed work, mwedical bills, etc. You are simply wrong.

2. I's like to see something to back up that 80% number but I concede that it will be more in favor of doctors once it gets to a jury. If a doc is truly negligent they will settle before it reaches trial for some amount and no finding of negligence. Then they are off the hook for having messed up and only have to pay. If they go to trial and lose they are branded for life. So, the cases that do go to trial will typically be weaker for the plaintiff. It is just common sense. That said, trials are not typical in med mal cases. They mostly settle.

3. I am just saying that the U.S. Supreme Court has roundly rejected limitless pain and suffering damages as violative of due process rights.

4. Not sure what you are getting at, please explain.

5. "as long as med-mal is aconsumer service then compensation for pain and suffering is appropriate for bad service; make it govt run healthcare then you can do you workmens' comp shit!!!!"

So, if a mechanic messes up your transmission through some act of negligence, by your logic you are not only entitled to the cost to repair the transmission, loss of use, extra mileage and basically any other calculable damage but also pain and suffering? Is it really based on the fact that it is consumer driven? C'mon blue coat.

Anonymous said...

This is a no spin zone blue coat. I just don't think people should be compensated at law for anything beyond damages they can prove.

Anonymous said...

....and life and death do, in fact have a monetary value. How do you think we calculate damages in a wrongful death suit? Again, you can prove a lot in actual terms. Hire a psychologist to testify to the impact of loss of a loved one on the family, hire an economist or a health care provider for future earnings or cost of care. You can quantify ANYTHING in the damages portion of a trial.

The dirty little secret is that trial lawyers don't want to limit P&S damages because if they win anyway the jury isn't limited and may want to punish the defendant with some outrageous number. if there is no limit they can do it and the lawyers make bank.

bluecoat said...

More correctly: most cases that get lost at trial in court get settled - in CT that is. Or are you a Republican that only beleives in states' rights when it's convenient like Chris Shays who wants to overrule our medmal tort laws and only medmal tort laws BTW?. The bulk of litigation costs in this country are business on business suits anyway but let's blame the skileed PI lawyers who take the tough medmal cases as well as their clients who went to a doctor for help - not jumped out in front of a freight train.

bluecoat said...

Pain and suffering has to be proved in CT, 2:41. There's no Roulette wheel or crying wall. And, of course, you ignore that when it's really egregious like the two ladies who went in to deliver babies at Norwalk Hospital only to come out in persisitent vegetative states thanks to the same doctor will never talk to their children the doctors and hospitals pay P&S without challenge just negotiation.

I will say that the urologist (doctor)from Greenwich who fell off his sled and then recovered from his injuries (Casper represented him) did get too much P&S but the town of Greenwich chose to go to court rather than settle. And, of course, the threshold to sue in that case was much less than med/mal. If it were med mal he wouldn't have even been able to file!!!

bluecoat said...

life and death are not given a monetary value at all - slavery is illegal as you might know - the P&S is assesed by the jury based on the imapct on those aggreived. And lost earnings is not P&S. Stop spinning. The attempt to limit P&S is all about deterring the most egregious lawsuits!!!!

Anonymous said...

Bluecoat - What on earth are you talking about? You gave me an awful lot to digest.

1) I think Med. Mal. is a state issue, I think the federal constitution is silent on the issue (much like abortion and sodomy). That said, it doesn't chnge the fact that, right or wrong, there is an ongoing debate about the constitutionality of high p&s damage awards.

2) Why are we talking about litigation costs on business to business lawsuits? We are talking about litigation in the context of health care. Right? The reason that PI lawyers fees are an issue is the cost structure of med mal cases. They are contingent based - so a PI lawyer gets a percentage of whatever the jury awards. This provides an incentive to make the award higher (an incentive that doesn't exist in a retainer fee based world). Do I think we should keep contingency fees in these cases? ABSOLUTELY! It provides access to the courts for people who are injured and can't afford an attorney. I am just saying that the reason this is an issue is because PI lawyers have an incentive to get the highest award possible. Capping p&s damages is a way to control this. It's just the way the world works.

bluecoat said...

med/mal in CT requires permanent injury or death; the case you cite should not be accepted by a judge; I am right or some very good trial lawyers in this state are wrong!!!!

Anonymous said...

You absolutely DO NOT have to prove p&s in Conn. to be awarded p&s damages. You simply must allege that there was pain and suffering and the jury can pretty much pick a number out of thin air - thus the cap. You can't quantify it - that's why you shouldn't be able to get it.

If you are that hurt get a psychologist to come in and testify that you suffered 'x' amount of pain and suffering and are entitled to 'y' amount. That's all I'm asking.

bluecoat said...

I love my Jeep but if my mechanic messed up the tranny, which he just serviced BTW, I wouldn't feel any pain and suffering - but maybe the Jeep would. But my mechanic would fix what he did wrong without putting up a "white coat of silence" and he'd give me one of his jumkers as a loner and I'd be just fine. However, if it resulted in some kind of accident maybe there would be pain and suffering. But there is no comparison to medmal becasue in the case of medmal it;s my responsibility to pay as long as things are fixed.

bluecoat said...

2:58 number 2) when you cap the P&S then you effectively cap what an attorney can charge in a case that has small economic damages for one. for another you haven't pointed to a single outrageous medmal jusry award and I doubt you can. I thought I was talking with an atty with practical experince instead of someone just out of law school with anecdotal doctor bullshit. Have a nice day; and go find a victim of medmal in need of a lawyer who would take his/her case on the risk that you might lose - there are lotes of unrepresented victoms out there even ones who meet the threshold of negligence/permanent injurty, etc.

Anonymous said...

Bluecoat - You should sue the trial lawyers you are relying on for malpractice. They are wrong, wrong, wrong. There is no requirement of permanent injury or death. There simply isn't. Have them read:

Boone v. William W. Backus Hospital, 272 Conn. 551, 567, 864 A.2d 1 (2005)


"[T]o prevail in a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff must prove (1) the requisite standard of care for treatment, (2) a deviation from that standard of care, and (3) a causal connection between the deviation and the claimed injury."

Anonymous said...

Bluecoat said "when you cap the P&S then you effectively cap what an attorney can charge in a case that has small economic damages for one"

No kidding, that's the point!!!! If there are low economic damages we shouldn't create fees for trial lawyers that will result in them pushing for more fees???? the injured party should be compensated for their injuries - no p&s simply to make sure the lawyer gets paid?!?!

I haven't pointed to a single outrageous malpractice award because you haven't asked me to. Here you go:

Earlington v. Anastasi - jury awarded 3.49 million for arm injuries suffered by a child during child birth. Look it up and tell me how on earth he deserved that much???? Short answer: he didn't.

bluecoat said...

3:17; I don't take legal advice from anonymous blogging lawyers who don't even have a full story, especially ones that have as much time as you do to blog; I have made my money in some part becasue I listen to people who know what they are talking about, so now I am happily retired and do this as a hobby. Go out and do some pro bono legal work and get some experience at the same time so that you can personally contribute to our economy.

Anonymous said...

Bluecoat - Let me color it in for you as little bit: I am a retired attorney (thus the knowledge and the time) who knows what she is talking about. I don't expect you to take my word for it, but do know that I am right.

Gabe said...

One unintended consequence of capping p&s and/or doing away with punative damages would be to disincentivise (is that a word?) valid but small
(in monetary damages) lawsuits, because potential plaintiffs would not be able to find a lawyer for whom it would be worth it to take the case, no matter how slam dunk it was.

Gabe said...

Anon 3:24 - I copied and pasted that case into lexis and nothing came up - I'm assuming a spelling error. Do you have the cite for it or confirm the spelling?

Anonymous said...

Gabe - Try this: 272 Conn. 551

The case Anon 3:24 referenced is a CT Supreme Court (written by the now-disgraced Justice Sullivan) ruling and is consistent with all guidelines ruling medical malpractice. In fact, to expound on Anon 3:24's comments, a medical malpractice claim in CT cannot be brought unless the claimant obtains a "certificate of good faith" from a similar practitioner to the one that committed the alleged malpractice. If the certificate cannot be obtained, the Complaint cannot be filed with the Court.

And CT does not have punitive damages or "pain and suffering" per se, they are referred to as non-economic damages and truly are accorded solely on the calculations of the jury.

Anon 3:24 - Without reviewing the case, I can only suspect that the jury awarded such an amount based on a permanency and a loss of earnings capacity.

Anonymous said...

Gabe - I am guessing it wasn't appealed (or settled before any appeal was filed)so there wasn't any published opinion. It was tried and won by Koskoff and I believe was the largest award in Conn. history. Check google - I followed the cae pretty closely during trial.

Anonymous said...

Took me a hot minute or two to find via Google-

http://www.koskoff.com/index.cfm/hurl/SectionID=15/NewsID=149

Anonymous said...

Intresting- The links I supplied pointing out the 70 billion scam industry for asbestos litigation wasn't approved.

I guess I'll have to sign up to get the truth posted.

bluecoat said...

Let's see the baby who might have grown up to be an Olympic javelin competitor or a New York Giants QB but never will be because an ObGyn f--ked up got 3.49 million - amortize that out and it's not a whole lot. I would much rather hear a discussion of how the negligence that led to this can be prevented in the future - and it can as identified by the Institute of Medicine (no link because the retired gal has her mind made up) for more than ten years now - than soome quibbling about compensation for a kid permanently disabled for life.

Say what you will, the total cost of med-mal is less than 2% of the total healthcare bill nationally. This doctor v. the trial attys is just penis envy. and BTW retired corporate atty, of which I count a number as friends in the medical field, you can't sue an atty for malpractice if they didn't charge but you are flat out wrong when you say permanent injury and death isn't a considerattion - if you surf around the Koskoff site they might even say thast..

bluecoat said...

BTW, the negotiated settlement for medmal during a screwed up Caesarean birth at Norwalk Hospital was in excess of 18 million. The kid's alive and the mother is in a permanent vegetative state in a hospital next to another Norwalk Hospital victim whose kid is also alive somewhere in upstate CT where they take care of people like that. After the second incident the hodspital dimped the anesthesiologist. This crap shouldn't happen and we shouldn't be quibbling ove r the damages.

Gabe said...

The linked articles don't give any indication of how the award was arrived at (although I agree with anon above that permanancy and loss of earnings were probably a factor), so I don't feel comfortable having an opinion on whether it was right or not. Although considering that the kid will never lift his arms above his head, that doesn't sound so out of line at first blush.

That said, I think it is important to be clear that the award was $2.69 million and that $800,000 in interest was tacked on because the Defendants had rejected a settlement offer of $1 million prior to the trial.

LitchfieldAngelina said...
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Anonymous said...

"Although considering that the kid will never lift his arms above his head, that doesn't sound so out of line at first blush."

100 years ago the kid would be dead and it would be a non-issue now we toss money at everything.

Medical science is nice now-a-days but not infallible.

Perhaps the kid can sue mom when he/she turn 18 for not having a wide enough pelvis.

Gabe said...

Anon 9:22 -

From the CT Law Tribune:

The delivery was exceptionally difficult, Nastri said. “In this case, the doctor had every opportunity to evaluate the mother and decide a safe way to deliver her. Instead, what he did was put a vacuum extractor on this baby’s head, and, according to everyone else in the room, pulled with great effort six times,” she said.

Nurses described Anastasi as sweating, breathing heavily and working hard with the vacuum device, said Nastri. “When he finally pulled hard enough to get the baby’s head out, he applied so much traction to the baby’s head that a resident stepped in and told him to stop,” she added. “The resident delivered the baby—and probably saved his life.”

Doesn't sound like medical science was the thing that was fallible.

LA - "The cost of health care would certainly be lower in Connecticut if the state legislature would limit non-economic damages as most other states have already done."

The evidence in the book I cited above suggests otherwise:
" After all, including legal fees, insurance costs, and payouts, the cost of the suits comes to less than one-half of 1 percent of health-care spending. If anything, there are fewer lawsuits than would be expected, and far more injuries than we usually imagine.

As proof, Baker marshals an overwhelming array of research. The most impressive and comprehensive study is by the Harvard Medical Practice released in 1990. The Harvard researchers took a huge sample of 31,000 medical records, dating from the mid-1980s, and had them evaluated by practicing doctors and nurses, the professionals most likely to be sympathetic to the demands of the doctor's office and operating room. The records went through multiple rounds of evaluation, and a finding of negligence was made only if two doctors, working independently, separately reached that conclusion. Even with this conservative methodology, the study found that doctors were injuring one out of every 25 patients—and that only 4 percent of these injured patients sued."

I highly recommend teh book - especially if you are predisposed to disagree!

LitchfieldAngelina said...
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Gabe said...

The book, which would be very poor indeed if it relied on only one study, was released in the last 12 months. If you aren't interested in other views however, by all means, find a reason to ignore it.

Anonymous said...

The kid might indeed have been the QB for the Giants or an olympian, he might just as well have been a homeless person. That's not what I am saying - I simply want the plaintiff to present evidence of it. It isn't hard. Crass or not EVERYTHING can be quantified. Non-economic damages are simply a boon to trial lawyers.

Also, a "negotiated settlement" is merely a settlement within the parameters of the current system. It was negotiated that high because non-economic damages could be that high.

Professor Baker's book is excellent. That said, he almost concludes that non-economic damages have no impact whatsoever on premiums. That is, in fact, an impossibility. He may conclude that they are negligible but he cannot conclude that they do not exist.

Seriously, there is not one good reason to do away with non-economic damages. Prove your harm people. There is not one thing you can mention as falling into the non-economic category that cannot indeed be calculated. Thus, non-econimic damages are simply punitive damages in disguise.

Anonymous said...

That should read "Seriously, there is not one good reason NOT to do away with non-economic damages."

bluecoat said...

I am going to hazard a guess that some of the talking points here can be found at the The Common Good, a group founded by a lawyer with absolutley no practical experience as a litigator. There is no talk about the legal process, there is no talk about how difficualt it is to prove negligence (theat baby was basically assaulted) and there is no talk about the need to prevent these preventable errors by improving the process of how medicine is delivered, etc. There's some work at Dartmouth on the latter but no sense posting that here. Oh, an ObGyn in CT mkaes on averge $500K a year and that's after paying the exhorbitant medmal insurance fees because some ObGyn's just can't get it right. So for damages the the kid gets the equivalent of 7 years pay for an ObGyn - a job he can never do either!!!

Anonymous said...

Bluecoat - What is your deal???? I want yes or no answers to the following questions:

1. Do you think the standard for negligence should be lowered for Med. Mal. patients?

2. Do you think a plaintiff should have to allege damages and offer evidence of those damages?

bluecoat said...

What are you going to do if I don't answer 10:27; throw me in jail.

Some anon started by spinning that CT's med/mal laws are pretty even, another didn't understand them and then another made a case that there should be no non-econmic damages probably. Doctors need to stop killing and injuring their customers instead of blaming the tort system for their inexcusable mistakes and their cyclically high insurance rates.

bluecoat said...

Maybe this is where I point out that we have jury assessed non-economic damages within the med-mal tort system to settle disputes instead of using sticks and stones to pummel the doctor until we feel good - and that's not even to the point of being punitive.