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ATLA chief: Bush economic plan will take away Americans’ legal rights

(12/16/2004) -- Association of Trial Lawyers of America President Todd A. Smith said today in a press statement that President Bush’s economic plan “pretends” that taking away the legal rights of American families will reduce health care costs. Smith said Bush “unashamedly advocates legislation that would protect insurance industry profits and prohibit any punishment for the makers of dangerous drugs like Vioxx, while penalizing your mother for being abused in a nursing home or your daughter for having her baby killed by medical malpractice.”

“That’s not an economic plan.  It is yet another give-away to the insurance, drug, HMO and nursing home industries.

“The President knows that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has reported that even if all the costs of medical malpractice---all the payouts, all the insurance costs, all the medical expenses---were eliminated, the savings would be no more than half of one percent.

“The President’s plan fails to do anything about the 99 % of health care costs that are really out of control---escalating drug costs, which account for 11 %, outrageous hospital bills, and record insurance profits that increased 1,000% last year.

“At a time when his own Department of Justice says personal injury litigation is decreasing and business versus business lawsuits are increasing, the President wants the American people to think that people injured through no fault of their own---not those who cause injury---are responsible for all the costs of our insurance and legal systems, even the hundreds of millions of dollars paid to insurance executives.

“Give us a break, Mr. President. Giving your friends in the insurance, drug, tobacco, chemical and other industries another windfall at the expense of American families is not an economic recovery plan.”


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