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Michigan Passes Laws to Keep the Poor Out of Court

June 1, 2009
American Civil Liberties Union
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Yes, yes, I know that we live in this state of Michigan, but I am not above pointing out areas in which our legislators protect and serve the special interests of their own pet political group:  the health care industry.

In 2005, or roughly thereabouts, Michigan legislators passed a law designed to “get rid of frivolous lawsuits” (Funny how that term always applies to the poor people or the minorities, isn’t it?)  that people file for medical malpractice. by saying that IF THE INJURED PATIENT DOESN’T PAY ANOTHER DOCTOR TO SAY THEY HAVE A CASE, THE PATIENT CAN’T GO TO COURT.    Maybe the judges had decided they didn’t want to do their appointed jobs:  determine whether or not one side was right or wrong, but in any case, they handed the oversight of the medical industry over to its own members and set a statute that prevents the poor from having access to the court of law.

I know, I know, sounds unconstitutional, doesn’t it, having to pay a doctor to tell you that you can go to court?  I mean, we can’t pay other witnesses in criminal or civil cases, can we?  Why would we allow people to pay for witnesses before even going to court?  Good Ole Michigan Legislators may very well have broken the law by passing this one.   Well, apparently it is, but this hasn’t stopped legislators from passing it.  The Supreme Court would have to rule on it in order for it to be heard in court, but get this, the legislators and insurance groups have fixed it so that the cases CAN’T be heard in court.  (Insert rousing round of applause for our justice system here…) And so, the insurance companies laud a success rate of having the rates of medical malpractice lowered 50%-70%, by poor people.  Can you believe that no one has fought this before?

I am doing research into this area, and I have contacted the ACLU, but so far, no one is writing back.  I have even contacted Governor Jennifer Granholm, but I haven’t heard from her either.  Next step is to find out how much those insurance companies, or those in the medical fields, contributed to the Michigan legislator’s campaigns.  Anyone have any information on this?  I will be checking into it.  Let me know if any of you out there can let me know how to get campaign funding info.  Seems like these legislators are up for a little Unasked Advice.  Michigan Legislators, you are the proud winners of the Asshole Business Award of the week.

Check out TortDeform to find out more about these issues.

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