A homeowner in Waukesha for 20 years, Steve is president of the Waukesha Dog Parks Organization and enjoys motorcycling, fishing and staying on top of politics.
A recently settled class action lawsuit against local small engine manufacturer Briggs and Stratton reflects one of the problems with health-care.
But before I discuss that, I must comment on Senator Feingold's listening session held in Whitewater. A newspaper called it a listening session. I thought that they were town-hall meetings. But given that, President Obama's recent health-care summit could also be called a listening session. However, he spoke for more minutes than all of the GOP representatives combined! Some listening session!
As brilliant as Congressman Paul Ryan was in pleading that Americans want health-care reform but to start over with a clean sheet, Senator Feingold showed amazing partisanship and deafness in his so called listening session. Indeed his comment, "I don't measure public opinion by decibels", implies that he must not only have his fingers in his ears, but also his eyes closed. Every reputable poll taken for many months shows the majority of Americans don't want the present form of the health-care bill to be passed. Yet Feingold and the Democrats are threatening to use the so called nuclear option to pass it with a 51% yea vote! Shameful!
So what does Briggs and Stratton have to do with the matter? Tort reform has been one of the items in health-care reform that the Republicans have not been able to get either Pelosi or Reid to put in the bill. Unreasonable lawsuits drives prices of pharmaceuticals up, doctor bills up and even drives doctors out of practice and leaving communities without necessary skills such as OBGYN specialists who move or quit the specialties rather than pay the enormous malpractice insurance.
This example fits into the Briggs and Stratton situation. They and others, it isn't clear who the others are, have to set up a $51,000,000 fund paying up to $75 to persons who bought certain lawnmowers. The issue? It is claimed that the engines do not produce the horsepower that is shown on stickers on the lawnmower. As a Briggs spokesman said, they've never had anyone complain that their lawnmower doesn't have enough power.
My own fairly new lawnmower says it has a 6-1/2hp engine. I doubted it from the start, but it has plenty of power for what it is intended to do. I would have never thought that this would be lawsuit fodder!
The tie-in to health-care tort reform is this. One third of that $51,000,000 will go for lawyer fees. Needless to say Briggs and Stratton engines will be a little more expensive and become a little harder to compete with others, like Honda.
So there is the tie-in to the need for health-care tort reform. Such lawsuits are not about "The People". They are all about "The Lawyers" and making things more expensive for the people.