Someone just leaked this confidential memo to ThePopTort. (Pretty sure it didn’t come from the White House but you never know.)
To: PIAA Board of Directors
From: Brian K. Atchinson, President and CEO
Re: Sorry Not Sorry
Date: May 16, 2017
Let’s face it. Trying to convince Congress that medical malpractice insurance companies are suffering and need “tort reform” relief puts us smack into “alternative facts” territory. As you know, things today aren’t much different than they were last October, when Medical Liability Monitor wrote, “The medical professional liability insurance industry is continuing its unprecedented run of consecutive profitable years in 2016. Never before has the industry witnessed such an unbroken string of annual favorable results, many of which were very favorable.” Sure, underwriting profits are down slightly as our cyclical practice of price-gouging doctors has been on hold for about a decade now while our stock market returns roll in. A.M Best just reported, “many medical professional liability insurers are still sitting on war chests of capital.” (Not sure I’d put it that way. Pot O’ Gold, maybe.)
But here’s the good news. Whereas the House of Representatives re-wrote its entire health care law apparently without insurance industry lobbyists in the room (such an insult), it was a completely different story when it came to the medical malpractice part of this repeal/replace plan – HR 1215. Not only were we in the room, we helped write it!
I’m telling you this because … I may have just made a little boo-boo. I announced this small fact during a live insurance webinar last week. Here's the video link (you need to register to watch it). If you go to around 49:50, you can hear me say about HR 1215, “That's a really important piece of legislation that the PIAA team helped, in fact, Hill staff draft.”
I guess I’m sorry for this public pronouncement … but hear me out. For 15 years, we’ve worked really hard on impulse control, especially since we somewhat “overreacted” to fairly statistical Public Citizen and Center for Justice & Democracy reports in 2002, to wit (U.S. Newswire, July 31, 2002):
Fighting to the death for the right to chase ambulances and hover over the sick and dead, this group of wolves in sheep's clothing [i.e., Public Citizen] has turned nothing less than rabid. Their rantings have gone beyond the bounds of rationality and descended into the maelstrom of sheer lunacy.…
Their arguments have the same hollow ring as those published by the so-called “Citizens [sic] for Justice and Democracy,” another suspected front for the trial lawyers, similarly committed to bandying about the same ridiculous rhetoric about how insurance companies' sole purpose in life is to rip-off the public.
Obviously, a little over-the-top. That’s not our sole purpose. Ripping off doctors, maybe. But not everyone. We don’t insure everyone.
But as to the matter at hand, sure, it’s never a great thing for the public to learn that the insurance industry is behind any kind of “tort reform” legislation. However, we've restrained ourselves for 15 years, and now we have a U.S. President with even less impulse control than we have. With a guy like that leading the way, what are we supposed to do? At least we’re not divulging sensitive classified intelligence to Russia. No one’s gonna die from HR 1215. (No one really believes those academic studies that say patient safety will suffer and more patients will die if this bill passes, right?)
(P.S. It's satire, folks! But as to everything cited? Totally real.)