Health Care

Paul A. Keating PKEATING at JCVAXA.JCU.EDU
Mon Sep 11 17:32:02 MDT 1995


|Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 14:38:45 -0400
|From: Willaim Thurber - PhD Student <thurber at FMGMT.MGMT.UTORONTO.CA>
|Subject: Re: Health Care
|
|>         Other suggestions focus on changes to state laws.  Capping punitive
|>         damage awards helps out, too.  A jury awarding millions in punitive
|>         damages to a clutsy driver/McDonald's coffee drinker over and beyond
|>         the damages awarded to pay medical bills is but one example where a
|>         punitive damages cap would thwart the "screw the well-to-do" attitude
|>         fired up in juries by lawyers on 30-40% contingency fees.
|
|I can't remember the source but I thought I heard some aspects of this
|case that made the verdict more reasonable.  Like, that McDonalds knew
|ahead of time that their coffee was too hot, had other complaints yet did
|not act.  In many instances, I have felt outraged by a silly outcome of
|a court case only to find out later that there were facts that I was
|unaware of that put the judgement in a reasonable light.  Another person on
|this list once said that liberals must explore deep, dark corner of every
|issue and that certainly applies to me.  (AKA: paralysis of analysis)
 
        Hot coffee is HOT!  When the award was appealed, it was rightly
        reduced.  Even if the coffee were .00005 degrees lower than steam,
        would not the woman's placing the cup and holding it between her
        thighs tend to lay (some) liability on the woman?  If I were to
        purposely sit on railroad tracks because they are convenient for
        my desired form of rest, and I am killed by a sppeding freight train
        that could not stop in time, am I not at fault?
 
        I read a comment on another list just after the initial award of
        damages:  Would the woman's husband have been able to sue McD's
        for turning his wife frigid if it were a milk shake and not coffee?!
 
 
|I worry that many of these solutions are too limiting.  To borrow a
|phase, and to re-spin the limits on awards argument:  Since the people
|are too stupid to determine what is fair, the government will decide a
|priori what can be the most fair in all cases.
 
        "Too limiting" is a generalization that can't be quantified.  Yes,
        these solutions provide limits--lower than those presently in
        force.  As that is the objective, I'd say "mission complete"!
 
        The court system, we can conclude from your premise, is full of
        (too) stupid people clogging up the justice system in an attempt
        to determine whether they have been wronged or not.  These same
        (too) stupid people elected the government (recalling a posting
        about consumers, &c., that you offered), so the government is
        not the best government it could be.  In short, I'd guess it's
        a case of one group of stupid people vs another group championing
        those stupid people, vying for the authority to claim what is fair!
 
        Yep, that describes it to a "T"!  That's why it needs limits! ;-D
 
 
|I don't think so, since as you pointed out in an earlier post, health
|care has its limits.  Most of us fear death, I don't think many people
|trade off smoking or other determental activity with the line "...and if
|I do get (consequence) I can live in a hospital for the rest of my life,
|die slowly, in pain, as my body falls apart - because, heck it is all paid
|for by the government."  You earlier claimed that you had virtually 100%
|coverage, do you have the urge to get up close and personal with a nuclear
|reactor or perform some equally silly stunt since your hospital coverage will
|be paid?  :)
 
        Obviously not.  Two reasons:  1) I have no desire to suffer from
        radiation sickness--it's not fun; and, 2) if I did so, the insurance
        company would have every right not to settle my claim (I don't have a
        nuclear reactor hugger rider on my policies!).
 
        As to the trade-off, many do make the trade albeit without thinking.
 
        Then there are those hoping to cash in on class action suits against
        tobacco firms, hoping that they will receive enough damages to pay
        for their medical bills.  Some still smoke.  Nearly all are aware
        of the dangers.
 
        Many rationalized that they were powerless under the addiction of
        nicotine.  When biochemists couldn't find data supporting physical
        addiction, the claim switched to psychological addiction. Psychologists
        linked smoking cigarettes with a need generated by being weaned too
        early.  Funny how no one tied that need to pencil sucking, and started
        class-action suits against pencil producers and graphite producers.
 
        But, I digress.  ;-D



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