Health Care Industry Tries End Run to Limit Liability

Last week Tennessee’s health care industry tried to hijack the Governor’s Cover Tennessee bill in an effort to obtain caps on their liability. The effort failed, thanks to the efforts of the entire Democratic Caucus in the Senate, Chairpman Person (R-Memphis), Senator Williams, and others.

The industry worked to amend the Cover Tennessee bill on the floor to limit their responsibility after a jury determines that medical negligence occurred. Usually, measures of this type are brought up through the committee system and, in fact, a similar piece of legislation was defeated in a House subcommittee this year. But the doctors alone had spent no less than $500,000 this year to get the special treatment they think they deserve so they decided to use the Governor’s health care bill to get what they wanted.

What is even more interesting is that they denied doing it. Why would they deny responsibility for trying to limit their responsibility? Because it is considered bad manners on Capitol Hill to try to bypass the committee system. And because you don’t mess with the Governor’s legislation without risking his ire. So, when the health care industry decided to do so, I guess they decided it was best to lie about what they were doing.

Now the industry will have to live with the consequences of its actions. The Governor will not forget that the industry was willing to derail the Tennessee Choice bill to get damage caps. The fact that the industry was willing to do so says volumes about the lengths to which some industries will go to limit responsibility for their actions.