Story from the Washington Times. (H/T ECM)
The trial lawyers lobby has been awash in debt and bleeding members – just as it embarks on a national campaign to block any clampdown on medical malpractice lawsuits as part of President Obama’s health care overhaul.
The American Association for Justice, the most prominent group representing plaintiffs’ attorneys, has seen a shake-up in its executive suite and has struggled to deal with what appears to be a mounting budget shortfall. To help it fight congressional efforts to make it harder for patients to sue doctors and lawyers, it recently sent out an extra solicitation to its members, asking them to fork over money for a lobbying campaign.
The most striking evidence of its financial woes is a swift decline in income, which resulted in a more than $6.2 million deficit in its operating budget for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2008, the most recent year for which data are available.
The biggest hit to its books was in membership dues, which dropped from $28.6 million in 2005 to $19.2 million in 2008, according to the annual AAJ financial report for that fiscal year filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
Trial lawyers raise health care expenses for patients and doctors.
There are credible estimates that serious tort reform could save the country between $100 and $200 billion annually in wasteful spending, as doctors practice defensive medicine to preempt lawsuits. … Now Obama says he’s going to study the issue. “I am directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today,” he said.
That would be Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, whose resume includes eight years as director of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association.
So Obama has chosen a former industry lobbyist to run tort reform.
Why are people cynical about health care reform?
According to Howard Dean, the trial lawyer lobby prevented the Democrats from including tort reform in the health care bill. They helped to elect Obama, and so Obama could not oppose them in his health care bill. The Democrats are a party dominated by special interest groups who contribute nothing to the economy.
Don’t forget that Obama picked a union lobbyist to be in charge of creating manufacturing jobs!