Wednesday, January 26, 2005

It begs for "I told you so..."

The Maryland legislature decided to address the issue of soaring medical malpractice insurance costs by taxing HMO premiums. The revenue from the tax will be used to underwrite the cost of malpractice insurance.

Governor Ehrlich warned the legislature that he would veto the bill on the grounds that HMOs will merely pass the tax on to the working people who participate in HMO plans. The bill was passed, and vetoed. The veto was met with the usual wailing about Republicans and their partisan politics, then overturned.

Never mind that the legislature entirely missed the bus on this one. Underwriting malpractice insurance costs by taxing HMO premiums is stewing the cat in its mother's milk. It's the Democrat impulse to continue feeding the trial lawyer machinery, even if they must do so by taxing consumers. This tax doesn't address tort reform, which is what we really need, it just allows the situation to continue. Only now working people are being asked to fund this huge tort machine.

And that's where the "I told you so" comes in. Sure as Ehrlich said they would, the HMOs have elected to pass the tax onto consumers as a raise in premium costs.

So now "the working poor", whom the Democrats claim to care so much about, are being told that they will make sure that trial lawyers don't have to give up their Hummers and that they can be sure of making next month's slip fees at the marina.

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