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Posts Tagged ‘lawyers’

I am sick to death about the health care arguments. I know you are too. In fact, that’s something about which we can all agree, I hope, as it appears not much else is.  Well, wait, there’s something else: we all feel the health care system needs reforming.

The devil is in the details, as always, and there are far too many details for most of us to process. So we argue about generalities or about specifics that are either irrelevant, less relevant or completely  misunderstood by most of us. Now I read that as Congress recesses, partisans are planning attacks on each other and on selective specifics, such as targeting Congressmen who oppose a public health plan option as being in the pocket of the insurance industry (MoveOn) or preventing a public insurance option because it might cover abortion (private conservative group). The DNC will accuse Republicans of trying to kill health care  reform and the RNC will accuse Democrats of trying to foist a risky experiment on the American people. Doctors will show up at Republican rallies to rail against medical malpractice costs and lawyers will show up at Democratic rallies to rail against inadequate protection for consumers. At this rate, Congress will reconvene in September and do nothing because they can’t agree on what they’ll claim are key pieces of the legislation. leonardo_da_vinci_man_in_circle

Where does that leave us? Bluntly, it leaves me with more than adequate health insurance that, at the present time, I can afford, notwithstanding health-related expenses are becoming one of the single highest yearly expenses I have. But it leaves my single mother friend, my 58-year-old consultant friend, and my married friend with two children and self-employed, disabled husband with a lot less.

The insurance companies are promising to reform themselves, which I’d like to believe but unfortunately, I have only to think of the financial industry – well, you get the point. I detest the idea of more regulation but wouldn’t mind a conditional attempt at requiring the private sector to cover preventive health care and alternative approaches, not to mention pre-existing conditions. I don’t like the idea of more taxes but I don’t like the idea that small businesses can’t afford to insure their employees. I know the between forty to fifty million people are estimated to be without health care but I imagine many more are under-insured, and so the idea of a publicly financed option looks good. I think that trying to track down positive or negative examples of how health care works in Great Britain or Canada is asinine because first of all, the systems don’t resemble each other and second of all, neither will resemble whatever the Senate brings out of committee.

The real question all of us have to ask ourselves is whether we believe health care for all our citizens is a right or a privilege, an obligation or a blessing, a guarantee we must make or one we can’t make.  We should have asked and answered it long ago, but we sure as hell better know when we run into our representatives in August.

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Courting Ridicule

My dad was a lawyer of the old school – honest, hard-working, skilled at both legal minutia and courtroom summations. I grew up with a healthy regard for his profession, though in recent years my faith has been sorely tested by the all-too common corporate malfeasance, not to mention those afternoon “real-life” courtroom dramas. This week was an especially bad one for anyone who hoped to improve the peoples’ low opinion of lawyers and their ilk. First comes news of the $54 million lawsuit that administrative law judge Roy Pearson has filed a against a Korean dry cleaners. The details of the suit are beyond ridiculous but it makes me wonder why the hell this case is allowed to chew up court time and space? His chutzpah is rivaled by that of former Supreme Court Justice nominee Robert Bork. The man who made his reputation as a champion of tort reform (or a hater of lawsuits, depending on your view) has himself filed against the Yale Club for a spill he took on the way up to the dais to make a presentation. Again, the lawsuit, to the tune of 1 million, goes far beyond negligence for missing hand rails (and by the way, he managed to mount the steps and deliver the speech). All of this is taking place as the tug-of-war continues between Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and members of Congress, who can’t seem to get a straight answer out of the highest ranking adjudicator in the land. I’m not a lawyer but I’m feeling pretty embarrassed on behalf of the profession right about now. I’m just glad Dad isn’t around to see this.

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