It's unlikely that Howard Dean intended to expose one of his party's greatest weaknesses in August 2009 when he explained why Obamacare could not include a tort reform provision that experts said could save up to $400 billion in health care costs.Speaking at a Northern Virginia town hall meeting, the former Democratic presidential candidate and Democratic National Committee chairman stunned many in the nation's capitol with these unexpected words:
"Here's why tort reform is not in the bill. When you go to pass a really enormous bill like that, the more stuff you put into it, the more enemies you make. And the reason the tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everyone else they were taking on and that is the plain and simple truth."
Tort reforms that put limits on such unrestrained class-action medical lawsuits by trial lawyers would save $40 billion annually, and up to $400 billion over a decade.
But President Obama and his Democratic congressional allies in the 111th Congress dared not alienate the Big Lawyers special interest of class-action trial attorneys. The lawyers and three other special interests - Big Labor union leaders, Big Green environmentalists, and Big Insiders with billions of dollars in personal wealth and foundation grants -- together essentially dictate what Democrats can and cannot support on many key public policy issues.