Henry Thoreau wrote: "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." So it goes with efforts to decrease health care costs by attacking the frivolous malpractice lawsuit straw man.
Attacking frivolous malpractice lawsuits is a brilliant way to frame the argument. If you poll the American people, they are universally opposed to frivolous malpractice lawsuits. So am I.
The other avenue is to attack trial lawyers and, in particular, medical malpractice lawyers. The effort to do this is obvious and pathetic.
Dr. Stuart Weinstein, clearly a doctor with outstanding credentials as a physician, and otherwise pretty cool sounding guy, said this in his prepared statement on behalf of a "Doctors Want to Make More Money" group to the House subcommittee looking at malpractice:
In 2009, the Institute for Legal Reform released a report showing that television ads for medical liability lawsuits increased by 1,400 percent in four years as spending on these ads reached an all-time high of $62 million -- up from just $3.8 million in 2004
Really? You are speaking to Congress. This is a big deal and making every word counts. Yet you take the time to pass this along to Congress? How much money is spent on legal advertising is important to this conversation? A question of at least equal importance is: how much has Dr. Weinstein made over the last 5 years? I'll bet you the answer is in the millions.