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Sen. Coburn's (little blue) poison pills

Republicans have made it known that they will stop at nothing to "kill the bill." That is, the sweeping health-care bill that is now law. Some are pursuing a repeal effort. Others are moving down a more crafty route. Take Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). He issued a list of nine amendments to the reconciliation bill that are designed for maximum embarrassment. The one that has gotten the most attention is "No Erectile Dysfunction Drugs To Sex Offenders." If Democrats vote against the measure, they'll be portrayed as being in bed with child molesters and other perverts. If they vote for it and the measure gets approved, those "fixes" the House approved with fanfare last weekend would have to go back to the House for yet another vote. These amendments took a lot of time to craft. Would that the Republicans had expended as much energy coming up with real proposals during health-care negotiations as they did these poison pills.

By Jonathan Capehart  | March 24, 2010; 12:11 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Oh you mean real proposals like: interstate competition or tort reform? Stuff like that? Hmmmm....I seem to recall that the Republicans did make proposals that they felt were needed and then were ignored by the Democrats. So yeah now we should just forget that evertything we said before was ignored and play nice cause the Democrats want us to? I'd rather they continue to do this and laugh as Democrats get red in the face. Why don't they just change the Senate rules? They have the numbers to do it. Pretty sure its because they want the rules to be there for them to use when they are in the minority. They just don't think its fair the Republicans can use them too!

Posted by: jmder | March 24, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

And the Republicans could probably have had some limited tort reform included in the bill, among other improvements, if they had wanted to engage in any recognizable form of bipartisan governance. I'm a Dem, but I detest the Dem's lack of will on tort reform. I was hoping for more from the Republicans. What we got instead from them was ridiculous, corrosive, and laughable mob theater. They had their chance.

Posted by: colinkquint | March 24, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Tort reform is a red herring. I'm not opposed to it, but states like Texas have seen no major improvements in health care access or affordability. In fact, Texas has one of the worst levels of insurance coverage in the US, despite its well honed tort reform.

Posted by: AxelDC | March 24, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama has repeatedly said he was willing to discuss Tort Reform. His sources say it would be a 4-5% affect and the GOP claims it would solve everything. That's where actual 'debate' comes in to weed out the misinformation and find the real facts. Unfortunately the GOP chose Death Panel rhetoric as their preferred method of 'conversation'.
You can claim that GOP ideas were ignored even though the actual bill is pretty similar to McCain's proposal in '08. There are tax cuts included, there are 'cross state' exchanges in the bill. Now can we discuss how the GOP was 'open' to a single payer system? Oh right, they only 'negotiate' towards their positions not away from them. All take and 'NO' give.
Given the hysteria they've raised over this past year, when it doesn't turn out to be armageddon...quite a bit of credibility is out the window. That does not bode well for future elections.

Posted by: rpixley220 | March 24, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Texas has a very strict tort limitation, and within its borders is the county with the highest healthcare costs in the country. I am a physician in a high malpractice cost area, but it's just hard to argue with the facts. The healthcare reform law did include a tort reform provision, even though there is considerable evidence that malpractice suits and "defensive" medicine do not play a substantial role in the high cost of the healthcare in the country. Please, Republicans, physicians and conservatives WANT to support an opposition party, but this type of theatrics, Dr. Coburn, PLEASE; you are embarrassing your colleagues.

Posted by: rocknrollmd | March 25, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I think Dr. Coburn just wanted his pal Senator Ensign to go cold turkey. Then he might not get into as much trouble. Ahhh, maybe this is what Dr. Coburn has been treating Senator Ensign for; Dr Coburn said he couldn't testify what they talked about, citing Doctor-patient privilege. We wondered why an Ob/Gyn would be treating a male colleague.

In no state did health care costs decline or has the cost of health care insurance declined when a state passed tort reform laws. None. "Tort reform" has absolutely no effect in reducing costs for people, the patients. The price of Malpractice insurance goes down a bit for a while but it creeps back up.

Texas passed tort reform in 1996 and made it more draconian in 2003. Health care costs vary all over the state from medium high to sky high. After "Tort reform" passed is when the health care costs really began to climb in some areas. TX is proof that "Tort reform" does not work to hold down costs.

California passed its tort reform laws in the 1970s. You would think CA would have the lowest health care costs in the nation. Wrong. CA costs vary as in TX with some concentrated areas of really high costs.

The biggest beneficiary of tort reform has been the auto insurance industry. And, no, the cost of auto insurance in TX didn't go down. It's not called TORT reform for nothing. The corporate insurance industry is using the loud doctors' complaints about high malpractice premium costs as an excuse to block people for being able to sue for any damages from any source.

The health care costs are lowest in areas with very good medical centers that integrate care like InterMountain in Utah and Mayo Clinic, and Cleveland Clinics. It seems that when you improve quality of care you reduce costs substantially.

Thanks, rocknrollmd, I am glad some of you are beginning to speak out. (And Obama and most Democrats want one, too.)

I don't know why doctors don't go after the med-mal insurance corporations to stop their scamming you. Do a search on the Kaiser Health Network. The insurers have been hiking doctor's rates even though claims have dropped. Go for it.

Posted by: sam_dobermann | March 28, 2010 4:26 AM | Report abuse

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