In his speech on Wednesday night, President Obama paid brief lip service to tort reform. Many in Congress cheered. But Kim Strassel suggests that that lip service is all we’re ever going to get:
Tort reform is a policy no-brainer. Experts on left and right agree that defensive medicine—ordering tests and procedures solely to protect against Joe Lawyer—adds enormously to health costs. The estimated dollar benefits of reform range from a conservative $65 billion a year to perhaps $200 billion …
The only folks not on board are a handful of powerful trial lawyers, and a handful of politicians who receive a generous cut of those lawyers' contingency fees. The legal industry was the top contributor to the Democratic Party in the 2008 cycle, stumping up $47 million …
It says everything that Mr. Obama wouldn't plump for reform as part of legislation. The president knows the Senate would never have passed it in any event. Yet even proposing it was too much for the White House's legal lobby. Mr. Obama is instead directing his secretary of health and human services to move forward on test projects. That would be Kathleen Sebelius, who spent eight years as the head of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association.
I didn’t know that about Sebelius. The trickster lawyers have their tentacles everywhere that power is wielded. They've spent years and millions blocking tort reform. Obama promised: "I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are.”
I bet he will.