Thursday, May 18, 2006


Republican-controlled General Assembly? Why is that a good thing?

I have been thoroughly disappointed by the Republican-led Tennessee Senate this year. I know they took up that oh-so-important motorcycle helmet bill and all, but it seems that the Republicans fail on so many levels whenever a chance presents itself to take a stand on issues that effect Tennesseans.

Take for instance the Cover Tennessee vote yesterday. Jim Bryson proposed an excellent amendment that would have capped medical malpractice awards, which would have dealt a major blow to the liberal trial lawyers of this state and greatly assisted medical professionals, especially doctors that practice as OB/GYNs. Tennessee is a state that is recognized nationally as having a crisis in terms of its healthcare providers, with some multi-county areas not currently having any specialists such as OB/GYNs practicing there.

Republicans control the Senate committee, but they were still unable to tack on the amendment to the Cover Tennessee bill. Why? A mixture of traitorous Republicans (like Mike Williams from here in East Tennessee) and non-voting abstentions (like Mae Beavers and Rusty Crowe). The amendment failed, the bill moved on to the whole Senate, and the body passed the repackaged version of TennCare on a 31-1 vote (Beavers being the only vote of opposition). Unbelievable.

Passing that amendment was a win-win situation for the Republicans. It may have been the "poison pill" that would have caused the Democrats to work for the bill's defeat. If it passed, the expansion of TennCare may have been palatable with such a victory for the doctors of Tennessee. Yet, the Republicans could do nothing positive, instead losing on all counts.

So, when Tennessee Republican Chairman Bob Davis speaks to Tennessee Republicans about the need to take the Tennessee House this election cycle, do you now understand why I don't get energized to help the party? If they are going to govern like Democrats, support the Democratic Governor every time he wants to expand the size of government and spend more of your tax dollars, and then campaign as conservatives when it comes time for re-election...

Well, it's hard to see a difference between the parties there.

UPDATE: I intercepted this e-mail from the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association (of which I am not a member) regarding the votes cited above.

Trial Lawyers and Friends:

An update regarding so-called medical malpractice tort "reform" efforts in the Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives follows.

By now, you know that a third medical malpractice "reform" amendment to the Administration's CoverTennessee health care initiative was filed in the Senate late Tuesday afternoon. That amendment, sponsored by Sens. Bryson and McNally, was defeated on the Senate floor this morning by a 13-16-3 vote.

Ayes - (supporting the tort "reform" amendment) - 13 Senators - Black, Bryson, Burchett, Finney, Fowler, Ketron, McLeary, McNally, Miller, Norris, Ramsey, Tracy & Woodson

Noes - (against passage of the tort "reform" amendment) - 16 Senators - Bowers, Burks, Cohen, Cooper, Crutchfield, Harper, Haynes, Henry, Herron, Jackson, Kilby, Kurita, Kyle, Persons, Williams and Mr. Speaker.

Present but not Voting - 3 Senators - Beavers, Crowe and Southerland

After the tort "reform" amendment was defeated, Sen. Beavers moved to reconsider the actions of the Senate (and to re-refer the CoverTennessee bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee for the purpose of considering so-called medical malpractice tort "reforms."

Sen. Jerry Cooper moved to Table that motion. Sen. Cooper's motion to Table Sen. Beavers' motion to re-refer prevailed on a 16-14 vote--preventing the bill from being returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee for the purpose of adding tort "reform" amendments.

The two other Senate Amendments containing so-called medical malpractice tort "reforms" were withdrawn after the defeat of the third, and the Administration's CoverTennessee health care initiative passed 30-1, without tort "reforms."

The TTLA Lobby Team thanks all of you who took the time to contact your Senator to help defeat these amendments.

On the House side, Reps. Glen Casada and Curry Todd sponsored three amendments to the Administration's CoverTennessee health care initiative that mirrored the so-called tort "reform" measures included in the Senate amendments sponsored by Sens. Bryson and McNally.

After considerable pressure and lengthy debate, both Representatives withdrew their tort "reform" amendments and the CoverTennessee bill passed 78-19 at 8:50 p.m. this evening.
The TTLA Lobby Team thanks all of you who took the time to contact your Representative to help defeat these amendments.

Please watch for LEGISLATIVE ALERTS in the coming hours on this issue, as the Administration's CoverTennessee health care initiative returns to the Senate for further action.

Thank you.

Mary Littleton
Legislative Counsel
Tennessee Trial Lawyers' Association

Should I ask Dunn the next time I see him in Church why in the Lord's name he can't keep the troops in line?

I will say this: Some Republicans really need our help. Stacey Campfield is one of them.
Name those counties without OB/GYNs practicing. You cannot. Go ahead and check with the Tennesee Dept of Health Stats.
Medical malpractice caps encourgage bad medical care. I could elaborate on this point, but it is wasted on a general sessions courtroom piker.
Looking into my crystal ball, I foresee you one day belly-aching about some calamitous event (in your eyes) that deserves compensation greater than the measly caps. Ponder upon that. However, I seriously doubt you are able to see the forest for the trees.
Anon -

Way to post anonymously. That takes some stones.

In any case, you asked, I deliver:

"More than 30 of Tennessee's 95 counties have inadequate access to obstetrical care; 15 counties have no obstetrical access." (Source: TN Department of Health, Health Access Plan 2004)

Since you continued to speak about that which you are ignorant, I have never taken a med-mal case against a doctor, nor do I ever plan to do so.


Good post Rob.
I, too, was disappointed with the vote.
By the way, the TnRP chairman is Bob Davis, not Tom.
Why is any "conservative" supporting any version of TennCare? I am disgusted. Can we clone Mae Beavers?

As for medical malpractice caps, I oppose these caps and not because my brother is a trial lawyer. I don't have the source at hand, but isn't Tennessee one of the states with the highest number of medical errors and censured doctors? Did I dream that or is it just a figment of my own experience? I could tell you a couple of stories. . . .
Fried Green Tomato -

Thank you for noticing my mistake regarding Mr. Davis. I have corrected it.

Such things happen when one gets in too much of a hurry, I guess...


I understand that you would never take a medical malpractive case (probably because you are not capable of handling one--financially or intellectually). But your doesn't you wife (i.e., the breadwinner) work for a firm that prosecutes medical malpractice claims sucessfully for injured victims that have been butchered by doctors? So do you partake in any of your wife's "ill gotten gains" or the Christmas bonus? You have positively no idea what you are talking about. You benefit from the hard work of your wife, doesn't that make you a hypocrite?
If you, anonymous coward, are going to make such accusations about friends of mine, at least be man or woman enough to tell us your name.
Dave -

Don't worry about Anon. I would "out" him, but I don't like to do that to people in the 1st District (as the Tri-Cities is). He has an axe to grind and, like most of his ilk, makes up for his own inadequacies and scandals by trying to bring others down.

For the record, I am proud of my wife. She has stood up for what is right throughout her life - even more so than I have. However, she is no longer with the law firm of which Anon writes, which only begins to show his level of ignorance.


You are wrong, yet again. I am not the person of which you speak. As a matter of fact, I live nowhere near your precious 1st District/Tri-Cities area.
How do high jury awards actually clean up health care in Tennessee?

Insurance is based on a pool concept--so how is right that a very responsible Dr. X has to pay out the nose because of a negligent Dr. Y?

I personally know two OBGYNs who no longer perform labor and delivery. Both of these Doctors are outstanding in their fields--both with big practices, both too young to retire.

Both cited medical liability costs as the reason they decided to just get out and stick with just plain gynecology.

Now, should I choose to have another child--my choices are now limited by the elimination of my two favorite doctors. How is medical care better by the elimination of quality professionals who are sick of the gamble and tired of the costs?

The problem in this case, is that while there may be negligence by medical professionals, there are also many mothers who don't take responsibilty for their pregnancy for nine months. But try telling that to a jury.
What a coward, posting as Anonymous. Being Anonymous on blogs is childish and moronic. I have gotten blasted by Silence for my position on Anonymous before, because Michael knows the identity of all of "his" anonymous bloggers. I could care less.

A special message to Anon:

I know VolCon wife, VolCon wife is my friend, You Anon will never come close to the integrity and character of VolCon Wife.
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