There is no better cure for insomnia than the sound of a Republican talking about health care. The soporific maunderings of people like Mitt Romney and Bobby Jindal on reform are guaranteed to produce merciful slumber, even in conservatives who sympathize with their views.
The sole exception is, of course, Sarah Palin. She terrifies progressives and irritates establishment Republicans, but she is never boring. And, more importantly, she is never ignored. She is, in fact, the only Republican whose comments on health care reform actually “move the dial.”
Which is why her hyperbolic “death panel” statement created such an uproar and resulted in a serious concession by the Senate Finance Committee. And it is why her latest foray into the health reform debate will probably also produce results.
We cannot have health care reform without tort reform. The two are intertwined.
This is nothing that many other Republicans haven’t already said, but she augments the point with a poignant personal note:
As Governor of Alaska, I learned a little bit about being a target for frivolous suits … Our nation’s health care providers have been the targets of similar opportunists for years, and they too have found themselves subjected to false, frivolous, and baseless claims.
And these frivolous claims put enormous upward pressure on health care costs, except states that have enacted serious tort reform. But don’t take my word for it, read the comments of a “dyed-in-the-wool liberal” and Obama supporter whom Patrick Appel quotes at length over at the Daily Dish:
As much as the trial lawyer lobby tries to dispute the facts, physicians did indeed flee Illinois in 2002 and 2003 after the judicial climate turned completely poisonous. There was a period in 2004 and 2005 where there were only 4 Neurosurgeons practicing in the entire state because several fled to Indiana, where there is an elaborate system of caps and state-funded malpractice insurance. The cost of malpractice insurance in Indiana is about 75% less than Illinois, and claims frequency and severity is a tiny fraction of Illinois.
This is from a Dish reader who would never consider voting for Sarah Palin. But facts are facts. If this Obama supporter and the country’s foremost redneck Republican are singing from the same hymnal, perhaps our alleged representatives should listen.