Friday, May 20, 2005

Making bad law

It's unfortunate when blatant politics affect the attempts to make law. This article described such a circumstance:

One side is trying to "embarass" the other:
Others say the unusual amendments are part of an attempt by opponents to dredge up every worst-case scenario in medicine, to embarrass caps supporters into backing down.
Among Fritchey's proposals was one that failed last week. It would have prevented any caps on damages against any doctor whose patient is injured by medical neglect because the doctor is engaged in sexual intercourse while on duty - a scenario that reportedly occurred in the Chicago area.

"If legislators think doctors should be protected in every circumstance then let them vote against these amendments," said Fritchey. "But I would like to think even the most ardent supporter of caps would recognize there is some conduct that doesn't deserve caps."
Basically, let's try to put something in the bill that is rare and is almost impossible to vote against, because we aren't politically secure enough to vote against the whole bill. We are too beholden to the trial lawyers:
State Rep. Ron Stephens, R-Greenville, a vehement caps supporter, said the amendments were a way for cap opponents to "make us look bad." He said Democrats proposing the amendments were doing so because if cap supporters come out against them, they will look as if they are not in favor of compensation for legitimate medical malpractice victims.

"Democratic leaders are in a box and they're looking for a way out," he said. "Democrats' number one fundraiser is the trial lawyers, so they are faced with either addressing a public policy issue, or do we do what our main donors say we should do?"

Mooney, the political scientist, said the proposed changes to the bill might also be an attempt to "water down" the legislation. He said because the public seemed to be so supportive of caps, legislators didn't want to come out fully against them.

"These are the kinds of things opponents do when they can't really find a way to defeat an idea if they take it head on," he said.
Sort of like a filibuster. When you don't have the votes to defeat something, abandon majority rule and just be obstructionist.