From the Times Picayune this morning comes an article about the proposal to do away with Louisiana’s Insurance Rating Commission. Here’s the key point: "Louisiana is the only state in the nation that still gives political appointees power over setting rates on homeowners and automobile insurance." Governor Blanco said "if it is a factor in keeping insurance companies out of Louisiana I am open to examining the issue."
I’m all in favor of government oversight (especially for insurance companies, given our current plight etc.), but when we’re the only state doing something it’s not likely to be because we have some keen insight the other 49 are lacking.
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HOw come we don’t protect doctors? Why do doctors pay extortionists to protect them? Why is there a whole industry based on extorting Doctors to force them to pay protection fees? I don’t understand it becuase the Doctors are the good guys for the most part! but like us they are also the ones that suffer the most when it comes to equitable rules in our society.
Look at what happens to the pharmacutical industry, they just lobby and pay-off crooks to change the laws for their ivory tower protection. They don’t even bother paying some form of malpractice Insurance! They are untouchable. Why does the little guy get screwed, many doctors can’nt afford to stay in practice becaus of the Insurance scammers. Why are’nt you lawyers really looking out for us?
Here’s a lovely example of how it works: Just before Christmas last year, in a spectacular example of a straight power play, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert pulled off a backroom legislative deal to protect pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits. The language was slipped into a Defense Department appropriations bill at the last minute without the approval of members of the House-Senate conference committee meeting on the bill.
Lots of players were outraged at the short-circuiting of the legislative process. “It is a travesty,” said Thomas Mann of The Brookings Institution. Rep. David Obey, D-Wisconsin, who had specifically checked to make sure the language was not included, was enraged, calling Frist and Hastert “a couple of musclemen in Congress who think they have the right to tell everybody else that they have to do their bidding.” Rep. Dan Burton said succinctly, “It sucks.”
The way this was done was outrageous, but so is what it did. Frist has received over $270,000 in contributions from the drug industry and has long advocated liability protection for vaccine makers. As the Gannett News Service reports, the provision allows the secretary of health and human services to issue a declaration of a public health emergency, or threat of an emergency, or declaration of “credible risk” of an emergency in the future, thereby protecting the industry against lawsuits involving the manufacture, testing, development, distribution, administration or use of vaccines or other drugs.
In order to prove injury from a drug, a person would have to prove “willful misconduct,” not just actual harm.
But this putrid performance is part of a much larger pattern to protect corporations from the consequences of the damage they cause. The Los Angeles Times reports: