Today's Health Care Check-Up: - July 18, 2000

In case you missed it, following are excepts from an article in this week's issue of Time magazine about the trial lawyers' campaigns against numerous industries - including America's health care system:

"Are Lawyers Running America?

Their lawsuits are setting policy on guns, tobacco and now HMOs.

Who elected them?"

"[Dickie] Scruggs isn't looking for money - or at least just money. He is aiming to use his lawsuit to do what Bill and Hillary Clinton and the leaders of Congress have failed to do: rewrite the rules of American health care. If Scruggs succeeds, medicine will join a growing list of industries, from asbestos to tobacco to guns, that are being overhauled and regulated by trial lawyers and lawsuits rather than by elected officials. ... Ask Scruggs if trial lawyers are trying to run America, and he doesn't bother to deny it. 'Somebody's got to do it,' he says, laughing."

"But is this any way to run a country? Critics of law-by-trial-lawyers say its an undemocratic way for a nation to decide its approach to controversial issues like handgun and tobacco regulation. The key players - the lawyers and often the judges - are unelected, and most of the critical decisions in litigation are made in secret."

America's trial lawyers are already out of control. Imagine how far they'll go if Congress allows new health care lawsuits against HMOs and employers.

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