An article in today’s “Roll Call” newspaper, which covers Congress, discusses the extensive influence that Sen. Tom Coburn has over members of the debt reduction “supercommittee” charged with finding over $1 trillion in federal budget cuts ovr a ten-year period. It appears that Sen. Coburn’s own “Back to Black” deficit reduction plan, which he released in July, is the basis for many pollicy proposals under consideration by the supercommittee.
That could be a positive development in the fight to protect each state’s right under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution to run their own civil justice systems and each American’s right under the 7th Amendment to seek a jury trial for civil suits, including medical malpractice lawsuits. Sen. Coburn’s “Back to Black” plan doesn’t call for unconstitutional federal tort reform in any way. Instead it relies on the states to manage their own legal systems, and specifically enables any injured patient to take a medical malpractice case to state court. Sen. Coburn also recognizes the terrible toll on patients as a result of deadly medical errors.
Sen. Coburn recommends that the federal government fund expert panels and health courts to resolve medical disputes, ideas implemented in some states and which do not, in practice, always protect a patient’s rights. But it preserves the patient’s right to access the state court system at any point; the state panels and health courts aren’t a mandatory step. The Senator disagreed with federal tort reform solutions on constitutional grounds in an interview posted on June 30, and this plan is consistent with his objection. I’m not endorsing the plan, but at least it protects our constitutional rights from federal “tort reform” efforts.
In contrast, the American Medical Association and numerous medical groups are asking the supercommittee to squash our constitutional rights and grant total immunity to medical professionals from their errors. They sent a letter to the supercommittee that ignores the clear consensus against federal tort reform by respected conservative legal experts such as Professor Randy Barnett; longtime tort reform proponents Walter Olson and Ted Frank; Republican Members of Congress such as Sen. Coburn and Reps. Ted Poe, John Duncan, and Ron Paul; and the largest association of state legislators in the country. Rolling over the Constitution and Bill of Rights is nothing new for the AMA and most of their fellow medical lobbying groups, the co-conspirators in the enactment of ObamaCare, with its equally unconstitutional individual mandate to buy health insurance.
The Founding Fathers’ insistence on individual liberty and state sovereignty over their legal systems means nothing to “Big Medicine.” They’re the walking definition of “Crony Capitalism” for continuously lobbying for national health care with total civil immunity. Limits in the Constitution on the enumerated powers for the federal government, and the 7th and 10th Amendments, are mere bumps in the road for the AMA and their cronies, which wants to interfere in local health care and tort law decisions so they can shape and manage our lives. There’s nothing “constitutionally conservative” about federal “tort reform” laws which would ignore the Founding Fathers, shut down local juries, and deprive Americans of our unalienable rights. The supercommittee should reject these blatant attempts by Big Medicine, and instead seek real reductions in the federal deficit.