Walter Olson has the scoop on how Dems tried to stuff goodies for trial lawyers in the House Democrats’ health care takeover bill.
Republicans apparently stymied those efforts last week, but like the Terminator, they’ll be back.
Just before the House leadership’s 794-page health care reform bill went to a Ways & Means markup last Thursday, a remarkable provision was slipped in that amounts to one of the more audacious and far-reaching trial lawyer power grabs seen on Capitol Hill in a while. Republicans managed to fend it off for the moment–but don’t be surprised if it shows up again down the road in some form.
The provision would have drastically widened the scope of lawsuits against what are known as Medicare third-party defendants…
…The language slipped into the health bill would greatly expand the scope of these suits against third parties, while doing something entirely new, namely allow freelance lawyers to file them on behalf of the government–without asking permission–and collect rich bounties if they manage thereby to extract money from the defendants. Lawyers will recognize this as a “qui tam” procedure, of the sort that has led to a growing body of litigation filed by freelance bounty hunters against universities, defense contractors and others alleged to have overcharged the government.
It gets worse…
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