While House Republicans consider whether to obey leadership’s demands in a dictated health care policy agenda, they might want to consider that no fewer than four budget plans proposed by Republicans honor constitutional rights in all health care-related lawsuits. None of the four would unconstitutionally threaten to close courtrooms through federal interference with the individual and states’ rights protected in the 7th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution.
First, the House Republican Study Committee, the largest group of mainstream conservatives in the House, already proposed a budget that attracted over 100 votes on the House floor. Many House Republicans instead the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, but that plan breaks Ryan’s own stated commitment to federalism by enacting federal limits on awards in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Two good budget plans were presented on the floor of the Senate last week. Neither gained enough support to have a full debate and floor vote. But both attracted more votes than the President’s own budget plan, and both represent steps forward in the protection of constitutional rights. Senator Mike Lee proposed a budget, with health care policy based upon securing individual freedom and consumer choice instead of government mandates. Senator Lee has consistently demonstrated his commitment to protecting our constitutional rights in his votes and statements against unconstitutional federal tort reform, as I’ve reported several times here. And Senator Rand Paul’s budget plan attempts to balance the budget in five years and begin paying down the national debt in ten years, all without resorting to a federal limit on awards in medical malpractice or other health care-related lawsuits.
Finally, Senator Tom Coburn’s “Back to Black” budget plan, now the basis of his new book, “The Debt Bomb,” also protects victims’ constitutional rights to present their case in court. The Senator consistently opposes federal medmal limits, and has told me several times that “if the feds can take over state tort law, there’s no reason to even have states.”
House Republicans need not look too far to find options that protect their own promise to uphold constitutional rights. These budget plans, along with Rep. Paul Broun’s “OPTION Act” health care plan endorsed by FreedomWorks, present real alternatives to an unconstitutional federal medmal bill.