Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Updated June 1, 2004 at 4:00 am

Jack Ryan's transcribed comments on Medical Malpractice/Tort Reform and keeping the Docs in Illinois. Suburban airing schedule for this week's show with Jack Ryan.

This week's (Week of June 1) suburban edition of "Public Affairs," [See, the last two paragraphs of this blog entry for our suburban airing schedule] features Jack Ryan, Republican U. S. Senate Candidate debating and discussing The War, Terrorism, Libya, Israel, North Korea, the Free Market, the Great Society, Market failures, Government failures, Helping the least fortunate in society, Empowering individuals, Empowering institutions, Capital Gains Taxes, Supply side, tort and medical malpractice reform, health care and transparency with show host and legal recruiter Jeff Berkowitz. A partial transcript of the show with Senate Candidate Ryan is included, below, at the Blog entry dated May 25 at 5:00 pm and a supplemental partial transcript is included, below, in this blog entry. The show with Jack Ryan will also air through-out the City of Chicago next Monday night, June 7, at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21.
Jack Ryan: He [Barack Obama] has spoken openly on the campaign trail about proposing universal health care. I don’t think a heavier government hand in health care is going to improve people’s access to health care, access to good doctors. One thing that we really need, which he [Obama] opposes—we need tort reform here in Illinois. We have doctors leaving the state. We have no nuero-surgeons left, now, south of Springfield. Ob-gyns are leaving, I spoke to a woman last night who said she just got a letter from her Ob-gyn--

Jeff Berkowitz: He [Barack Obama] agrees with you in the sense that he says that there is a crisis here, and he says that the trial lawyers should recognize that, but he doesn’t agree with you that we should try to cap the awards in medical malpractice cases. He says if we do that- Barack Obama says- there will be some people who will be severely injured [by the malpractice]. [He says] They will get their economic costs, but they won’t be made whole; they won’t be compensated fully for those severe injuries. [Their pain and suffering will not be fully compensated.]
What do you say to that?

Jack Ryan: Well, I don’t think you can keep agreeing in concept with my position and disagreeing with the actual execution. You know, saying you are for the free market, but let’s have more taxes—

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, he does agree that there is a crisis. You and he differ as to how to solve this crisis [in medical malpractice]. I think he would say that.

Jack Ryan: He would say that there is a crisis, but what’s the solution to the crisis. I don’t hear the solution. I have a real solution.

Berkowitz: He suggests different standards [for filing medical malpractice cases] to cut out some of these lawsuits that are frivolous; His solution in part and he says you don’t recognize this and these are Barack Obama’s words- he says you have not been around this business long enough—you know, he has been a state senator for seven years—he says we have to look at regulating the insurance companies. He said under McCarron Ferguson, I don’t know if he referred to that legislation, but there is an exemption- I don’t think it covers some of the things that Barack is suggesting, but he suggests that these folks [insurance companies] might not be coming up with competitive rates. And so somebody has to look at that industry [the insurance business] here in Illinois, at least, and perhaps elsewhere. What do you say to that?

Ryan: I think once again it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the economy works. And, I think what we need for experience in Washington, DC is someone who has not only taught in an inner city high school or been in a refugee camp, but also has been involved in business.

Berkowitz: So, you understand business? And you think the insurance companies are behaving competitively both in the malpractice insurance areas and in other areas as to the rates they set? Is that right? Do you agree with that?

Ryan: Yes, and I will tell you why, because the markets work-- in this situation. If the insurance companies were gouging individuals, we know what would happen, Jeff. We’d have lots of insurance companies coming into Illinois and saying, Hey, I want to do that business- because people would be making a lot of money in Illinois with their [above competitive] insurance rates. But, we don’t see that happening. In fact, we see the opposite happening. We see insurance companies leaving [Illinois]. And, so that is not the sign of someone who is making a lot of money on [these] insurance rates. So, we can judge people—

Berkowitz: So, you would like to cap [medical malpractice] awards, that would be one part of the solution. Now, the problem is that the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled those caps are unconstitutional. So, do you have solutions or do you simply one day have to change the Illinois Supreme Court.

Ryan: Well, at the Federal level, we came very close to getting that through, which is why this race is so important. We have a one vote majority in the U. S. Senate, as you know. We almost got tort reform through at the federal level. It got stopped at the U. S. Senate side. It passed at the—

Berkowitz: Was it filibustered or were the votes just not there?

Ryan: We missed two or three votes on closure.

Berkowitz: So, you would like to approach that nationally to set national caps on how much people can collect on malpractice?

Ryan: The point is we have seen the experiment work in the states: Indiana has it, Missouri has it, Wisconsin has it. The reason so many doctors are leaving for Wisconsin, Missouri and Indiana is because they do have caps. And, so, a lot of our Ob-gyns—and if you really care about the poorest of the poor, the least fortunate—that is a big theme of my campaign—the people who are losing access are the least economically able to see an ob-gyn. Because the ob-gyn will say, “I have this big liability tail on my service.” They really can’t pay me my fair rate, so I don’t want to see that person or I am going to move to Indiana.
Interview with Jack Ryan on "Public Affairs," filmed on May 23, 2004, and as will be cablecast on "Public Affairs," the Week of May 31 on Comcast Cable in the suburbs and on June 7 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 through-out the City of Chicago.

Suburban airing schedule:
The suburban edition of "Public Affairs," is broadcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

The suburban edition also is broadcast every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.
Please send any comments about this blog or the Public Affairs show to
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of "Public Affairs." He can be reached at JBCG@aol.com