Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Lifting a link from Mr. McBride I bring to you Radley Balko's A Few Questions for the Vice Presidential Candidates.  Mr Balko asks both Senator Edwards and Vice-President Cheney some pointed questions:

For Sen. John Edwards, Democratic nominee for vice president:

—As is well-known by now, you made your fortune representing plaintiffs in tort cases, mostly in medical malpractice cases. One of the consequences of huge rewards like those you have won has been skyrocketing malpractice insurance premiums for doctors and the exodus of doctors from certain medical specialties, such as OB-GYNs, heart surgeons and emergency room attendants. The resultant crisis in health care availability has hit particularly hard in the South, as medical insurers and doctors have abandoned much of the region. As someone who has presented himself as an advocate for the little guy, how do you reconcile the verdicts you've won with the effects those verdicts had on health care in the South?

—You specialized in seeking judgments for parents in cases of botched childbirth deliveries, which you argued resulted in cases of cerebral palsy. Two new studies released in 2003 show strong evidence that cerebral palsy is not likely caused by delivery room errors, but by genetics or prenatal infections. If medical science continues to exonerate delivery doctors from cerebral palsy cases, do you think the verdicts against the doctors you successfully sued should be reversed, or that your clients should return the money?

—You said in a campaign speech that we have “One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks,” and that in your administration, we’d have “no more tax breaks for CEOs who give themselves millions in top-hat pensions while giving no pensions at all to ordinary workers.” Yet, two years before you were elected to the Senate, you established a tax shelter to avoid paying $290,000 in Medicare taxes. Medicare is federally-funded healthcare for the poor. How do you explain your shirking of this duty to the poor you claim other wealthy people should observe?


Mr. Balko also asks Senator Edwards questions about late-term abortions and the race of judicial nominees. Important issues but not the purpose of this post.   To further drive home the point of the first two questions I would like to add another:
You frequently portray your litigation career as standing up for the "little guy" and defend your large awards as a way for your clients to be provided for. Why did you then oppose the establishment of a "no-fault" program for cerebral palsy patients in North Carolina similar to the one in Florida?
Certainly it was Senator Edwards' duty to provide the best case he could for his clients within the limits of the law. But if he was truly the populist he claims he is, why did he not take every case he was presented with? Why did he deny the Medicare program that $290,000 ? Where is the outrage?
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