Funny - it’s been received wisdom that one can’t reject a policy without a suitable substitute to address the problems that the rejected policy is addressing. Yet, as I read this article, it seems like the kind of things that I would expect would be effective replacements (better information, peer monitoring, more careful framing of legislation) went unremarked: Bush Signs Class-Action Changes Into Law [pdf]. I’m no fan of lawsuits, but I can’t figure out what provisions remain for those who end up really harmed.
President Bush today signed legislation that rewrites the rules for class-action lawsuits, opening a second-term campaign he said was aimed at “ending the lawsuit culture in our country.”
In a ceremony to sign the Class Action Fairness Act, which was passed by the House yesterday and became the first bill to be signed by the president in 2005, Bush vowed to work for passage of “meaningful legal reforms” to curb medical malpractice and asbestos lawsuits.
As I recall, the “lawsuit culture” is a consequence of our legislators’ unwillingness to get into the details of their legislative initiatives. By speaking in high-level generalities and sweeping policy language, legislation can get passed, leaving the messy details of implementation to the regulators and the courts. Will that grinning bunch standing with the president in the picture suddenly change the way they write legislation? Somehow, I don’t feel terribly sanguine about that scenario.
Wonder what policy alternatives this administration has in mind to provide the necessary monitoring of performance in malpractice, for example? The market again? Say, instead of the AMA actually penalizing doctors whose incompetence is well-known among their peers?
As Theodoric of York says (more frequently it seems in this blog), “Naaaahhhh!”