Ron Paul vs. Tort Reform


When you ask most Republican politicians what health policy ideas they support, one of the first things they tend to bring up is medical malpractice reform. The political advantages are obvious: Trial lawyers are both unpopular and a key Democratic constituency. The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, has estimated that reforming the medical malpractice system could save $54 billion over the next decade.

Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), though, is not most Republicans. At last night's GOP primary debate, Paul argued against the idea, making the case against the sort of tort reform proposals that many other members of his party support (Rep. Paul shows up around the three minute mark): 

(Video via KHN.)

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  1. Herman Cain answers questions in a direct, simple manner. He understands how to solve problems – by DEFINING the problem, determining ways to solve it, seeking experts, and then FIXING it.

    Herman Cain 2012! If you are interested check out the website.

    1. We aren’t.

    2. He just wasn’t that good….

    3. Herman Cain “defines the problem,” yet cannot actually tell you what that definition of the problem is. He just tells you, literally, that he is going to define the problem.

      Herman Cain “determines ways to solve it,” not by offering his own considerations, but by… “seeking experts.” WTF. Really? So Herman Cain will basically hand over control of our country’s policy to polished bureaucrats and authoritarian insiders. Since, of course, he hardly knows what the hell he’s talking about.

      Then Herman Cain will “fix” the problem with the solutions coined by the anointed philosopher king “experts” that he relies upon for “his opinion.”

      So, very well done. You have just added to the fucking idiocy of the political system. Herman Cain is a lot smarter than you are, moron.

      – H. McCain

      1. Herman Cain “determines ways to solve it,” not by offering his own considerations, but by… “seeking experts.”

        Wasn’t this pretty much Ross Perot’s schtick, also?

        1. Indeed it was. If you had have created a montage of Perot’s solutions back in ’92,”assembling a team of experts” would have been repeated throughout the entire thing.

    4. The problem with Cain is that he thinks government can fix problems.

      If only we had the right guy in charge!

      1. Restating the same ideas in a fresh way is quite popular, apparently.

    5. We might be interested if he were to read the Constitution and commit to taking it seriously. He is unaware that religious tests cannot be required in order to hold public office.

      1. He also thinks the oath of office is to protect preserve and defend the laws.

  2. Whether a politician is for or against tort reform matters not. Tort reform has made no price difference in Texas

    1. The only people that benefited from tort reform in Texas were insurance companies!

    2. Au contraire. Texas malpractice rates are down since tort reform, and Texas has experienced inflows of doctors.

      It has been a success, here.

      1. How has it affected patients?

        1. Yeah, I would be looking at the amount of malpractice and quality of medical outcomes to get the other side of that coin, not just “did it make life easier for doctors?”.

          1. More doctors means a more competitive market. If doctors in your area aren’t taking new patients, you’re stuck with your doctor. If you have lots of new doctors from other states trying to set up a client base you can get better prices and better service.

    3. Doctors are flocking to Texas. Are you saying that a shortage of doctors versus an adequate supply of doctors “matters not”?


    Seriously, though is there any statist fuck proposal NY Timers won’t support? In an editorial opposing the city’s recent ban on smoking in parks and on beaches, all the commentators seemed to think banning smoking in public was a great idea. So, you can’t smoke in bars, you can’t smoke in public, you can’t smoke indoors- I guess you’re hanging with the pigeons on the fire escape.

    1. *cough*


  4. Gotta love that screen grab.

    Santorum: “So I stuck my hand in this frothy mixture and thought ‘I wonder if there’s a name for this?'”

    1. Dan Savage is a bigger douchebag than Santorum, he actually joined the Gary Bauer convention and licked the phones hoping to give everyone a cold.

      I used to be a fan of Savage, but not anymore, the man is human garbage.

      1. Oh noes, Gregory! Your comment linking to your blog is gone. And I was just about to click on it…

    2. Yeah. The one missing is his ability to diagnose the level of brain damage from a photo/video.

  5. How can anyone not like Tort Reform? Maybe it’s time to send Ron Paul to pasture, that old bastard is getting senile.


    1. You suck harder than anon-bot.


      1. I’d rather not answer.

      2. I’ll take “Gregory Smith2” for $2000, Alex.

    3. What’s wrong with tort reform? Who is doing the reforming? Government? Rule me out, can they fix anything? RP simply wants it to be a free market thing, like everything else. As it stands now, it certainly isn’t a free market.

      1. Perhaps RP is saying that the federal government is not the place for tort reform. Just like I hope these guys don’t get going on what’s supposed to be in school lunches.

        RP and Gary Johnson both need to repeat over and over that they are running for president. Not king. Not emperor. Not Caesar. And they should repeat this every time one of these clowns talks about the federal government getting involved in any of this stuff.

        1. See, I’m running for President of the United States. Not emperor, like these other guys. I can only do so much in that limited role.

        2. There’s no “perhaps” about it — he plainly said this is a state level matter. I.e., RTFC (“Read The Fucking Constitution”).

          His prescription for state-level reform seems to be to allow doctors to stipulate that a condition of being treated by them would be that disputes about treatment would be settled by third-party arbitration, disallowing trial lawyers. Basically, private markets for judicial services instead of government courts.

  6. Maybe, as a doctor, RP has seen some truly horrendous stuff done by incompetent docs that “tort reform” would not allow to be fully restituted?

  7. Mainstream Libertarian Republicans finally have a real choice!

    Santorum 2012!

    1. Is this a spoof?

      1. It’s really hard to tell whether someone’s spoofing Dondero. The guy’s such a self-caricature.


    2. OK, this is unfair, even for poor Eric

    3. Thank you. Though I disagree with libertarians on some points, when my advisors informed me that someone had spoken positively of me on this blog, I had to seize on the opportunity to grab another friend – and supporter.

      You and me make a party! The Republican Party!

      Love and peace to all the children and disenfranchised lepers,


    4. If Santorum’s back, then so should be his thread. I invoke the name of the Children of Santorum and open the thread back for business. Say hi to Viking Moose while you’re there.

      1. That is so full of awesome. And I only just noticed how Santorum’s wife looks like she just had a margarita with a cough syrup chaser in that photo.

        1. The boy-child still looks like he has that 1,000-yard stare you hear about in war movies.

      2. The little girl must have just realized that daddy would be home alot now that he’s unemployed.

  8. Did Insanetorum say that the prescription drug plan came in under budget? Holy crap, what was the original budget? I think I’ve seen Rove give the same explanation. So what we have is a repub prescription drug plan that is eternally unfunded and is leading to more budget deficits, but hey, it came in under budget. Wow.

  9. Where can we watch this onlineee?!?!?!?!

    1. http://www.youtube.com/user/DakotaVoice

      This user posted the whole thing to youtube. HTH

    2. Nice.

      You may be able to catch it at the tractor pull.

  10. The CBO’s number ‘$54 billion over ten years’ is way off.

    Nobody tabulates where the real gravy is in tort law: Out of court settlements. All those deals are conveniently sealed and sums (always the cryptic term ‘damages’) never disclosed. Only way I can think to get even a vague handle on the money involved would be to dig through every publicly-traded insurance company’s SEC filings, then extrapolating from there based on their payouts. And no one’s done that to best of my knowledge.

    So technically I agree with Ron Paul…there should be no cap on damages or any such thing in tort law actually practiced in court, which is always the knee-jerk approach for generic ‘tort reformers.’ Its the out-of-court shit where there needs to be a fix, and I think that fix is Loser Pays.

    1. Uh, if there’s a settlement, then there is no loser.

      1. I think he means that right now people settle because even winning in court is often a Pyrrhic victory once court costs are factored in. While plaintiffs can just agree to divy up the spoils with their lawyer, there aren’t any spoils for the defendant, just payment — so the incentives favor frivolous, extortionate suits.

        With loser pays, a defendant that believes he has a good case would be more likely to risk going to court, and a plaintiff who’s playing the jury lotto will be facing a much higher risk premium (or else his lawyer will).

    2. Ron Paul is against government courts entirely. He wants to have private “courts” — third party arbitration — handle any claims of malpractice.

  11. Here’s a little secret: Nobody who matters gives a flying fuck what Ron Paul thinks about anything.

    1. Matters to whom?

    2. It really disturbs you that that isn’t really true, doesn’t it? Even the media pays attention to him now. Why is that?

    3. define “matters”. I happen to know a nobel laureate who made an incredibly important discovery that everyone in every biology lab uses every week, who cares deeply about what Ron Paul thinks about monetary issues.

      1. Jeus Christ, you people are dense. I mean nobody who matters politically. For fuck’s sake, take a look at Ron Paul. Listen to him. In our current culture do you really believe in your heart of hearts (forget your little brains) that somebody who looks and sounds like that has any chance of being elected president? Suppose by some miracle the old fuck did get the nomination, don’t you think he would come under a lot of media scrutiny? Go back to Hit and Run of 2008 and see how the ninnies here reacted to Ron Paul’s moronic newsletters. Now imagine the major media’s reaction to the Republican nominee having that kind of baggage. There are more levels of absurdity in Ron Paul’s candidacy than there are stars in the fucking sky. Make a fucking libertarian saint out of the man, but don’t insult your own and everybody else’s intelligence by making believe that he can be president.

        1. The fact that there are people who “matter politically” is the root of every problem in our society today. The idea that someone is important, wise, trusted, respected, etc. because they got the vote of 50%+1 of the people who bothered to vote on a particular Tuesday is really stupid if you think about it for even a minute.

          1. Okay, try to think. Ron Paul doesn’t matter politically and Barack Obama does not because of any moral flaw in society, but because Barack Obama is charismatic and artuculates values that most Americans agree with, and Ron isn’t and doesn’t. It’s as simple as that. You think Ron Paul is the cat’s pajamas. Fine. But you’re part of a tiny minority, and the chancs of your convincing a majority that your view is correct are miniscule. You get that, right?

  12. Rick Santorum just makes me want to say “ick!”

  13. At least they finally asked Ron Paul a question about health care! Of course, they didn’t mention that he was a medical doctor….

  14. A growing body of research claims that Conservatism and Libertarians result from neurological abnormalities. Liberal political discourse is full of snarky comments that call their political opponents “crazy”.

    The list of standard medical procedures used on someone labeled mentally ill includes involuntary confinement, restraining that person to a bed with handcuffs and ankle cuffs, pulling that person’s pants down to forcibly inject drugs into his buttocks, restricting communication with people outside the hospital, and solitary confinement.

    Trust me, we want to defend the right to file tort cases against doctors.

  15. Disclosure: I am a Doctor.

    1. Defensive medicine is one of the main reasons healthcare is so expensive. I order an MRI because if I don’t I get sued, and it costs me nothing.

    2. Most Lawsuits for malpractice are not

    3. The legal definition of malpractice is deviation from the “standard of care.” This may or may not be actual good care, just what everyone else is doing.

    4. Most malpractice does not go to litigation

    5. Current tort laws do not protect patients, they line the pockets of malpractice attorneys

    1. So with RP’s free market plan you could contract with your patients to decide the terms of malpractice. Perhaps the contract will say the patient can only sue if problems X, Y, or Z arise. This will save you money on lawsuits if they sue (since the legal proceeding will be simple and laid out in the contract) and you don’t need frivolous defensive medicine.

      You get to pass the saving on to the patient = lower medial costs!

  16. Virginia was trying an experiment with “no fault” malpractice, where the victim gets approxmiately the same as they would get in a court case, but the lawyer’s percentages is about 3% instead of 50%.

  17. Freedom From Unnecessary Litigation Act

    I asked Dr. Rich at Covert Rationing Blog what he thought about it and he said it sounds great, but the government would never allow it since it puts too much control in the hands of the patients and doctors.

  18. Ron Paul has a lot of fine ideas, but this isn’t one of them. Huge lawsuit awards to patients for dubious reasons is quintessential big government. It’s just big gov’t from the judicial branch. If you can stop big gov’t with legislation at the federal level, then do it. What’s more, state’s rights don’t exist, only individual’s have rights. Just because tyranny happens at a state level doesn’t make it OK.

  19. Well Max is right about one aspect. Ron Paul has a great govt philosophy, but doesn’t come across too well in the charisma dept.
    Maybe if he got speech tutoring and witty writers???

    1. Okay, how about plastic sugery and a new biography, one that wipes how the newsletters and his many appearnce at John Birch Society events? That should do it.

  20. The military supports Ron Paul and seeks a leader that will defend the Constitution from its domestic enemies. We have sworn an oath to defend liberty but watch with horror as the nation we defend becomes a fascist police state ruled by corrupt politicians. Please help Ron Paul save the nation

    Joseph Zrnchik, MAJ (Ret.)


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