In one of the most cruel and underhanded political maneuvers yet, President Bush is trying to strip patients and consumers of the right to seek damages from injuries sustained as a result of defective, poorly manufactured and misused medical devices. Also, consumers and patients who experience adverse side affects and harm to their health due to mislabeled instructions, substandard quality, or misleading, exaggerated advertising claims by drug companies will no longer be able to seek damages of any kind---much less a cap on the amount of awards for pain, suffering and medical complications.
President Bush has scored another backdoor, Federal Court victory against the rights of all Americans to protection from the unscrupulous practices of some corporations, and he accomplished it with little public awareness and little or no media attention.
In a front page article in the NY Times (7/25/04) it was revealed that "The Bush administration has been going to court to block lawsuits by consumers who say they have been injured by prescription drugs and medical devices. "
Having failed to garner the necessary support in Congress for his misguided attempt to limit medical malpractice lawsuits at the expense of injured patients, President Bush is engaging in a political version of the quarterback sneak. If the ultra right wing of the Republican Party can 't win legislation in Congress for the big corporate conglomerates, then they will circumvent the will of people and snipe away at our rights through the use of the Federal Courts and conservative Federal Judges appointed by President Bush.
Having failed to win Senate approval of dozens of right wing, conservative leaning Federal judges, President Bush has proceeded to use another underhanded, sneaky political loophole by appointing the judges of his choice while Congress is in recess---again with little or no media attention and with the public being unaware of the packing of our Federal Court system with "unconfirmed " judges.
In this latest precedent setting Federal Court decision, fought for by the Bush administration, the FDA has been deemed to be incapable of error, misjudgment or mistakes. In affect, the FDA is infallible.
The New York Times article (7/25/04) stated that Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, Democrat of New York, said the administration had "taken the FDA in a radical new direction, seeking to protect drug companies instead of the public. " "Mr. Hinchey said that FDA lawyers, led by the agency 's chief counsel, Daniel E. Troy, had repeatedly interceded in civil suits on behalf of the drug and medical device manufacturers. " Mr. Hinchey also said "Mr. Troy (the legal spokesperson for the new Bush policy) had a potential conflict of interest because Pfizer had been one of his clients when he was a lawyer in private practice ". The Times stated, "Mr. Troy refused to discuss the agency 's legal arguments or the criticism of his role ".
Big Brother is here. And Big Brother is the Republican Party; the very party that has always claimed to champion the cause of the liberty, justice and the rights of the little guy---protecting us from the power of the Federal Government and big corporations. Now the GOP is in bed with the big corporations and with the full weight of Federal Government is squashing the rights of American citizens. The Federal Government is being bought out and bought up by the power and the money of "the Corporation ". Our protective rights under Federal law are being shelved.
Whether one has a heart attack, a stroke, a brain aneurysm, or suffers permanent and irreparable physical or mental harm due to a defective medical product or inept medical care, one will no longer be entitled to seek any form of compensation whatsoever, if President Bush gets his way. It is only a matter of time unless Americans wake up to what this Administration is doing to their rights.
Consumers and patients will not even have the right to begin any form of legal action or litigation. This is the new Bush "Patient/Consumer Bill of Rights " as defined by President Bush and his Republican Administration. The theory---If the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration) approved a drug or a medical device how can it possibly cause harm? Tell this to the 195,000 patients (reported throughout the media this week) that died needlessly this year in hospitals as a result of defective and misused medical devices, inept health care, medical negligence, and drugs prescribed and misprescribed to patients---drugs that end up killing patients instead of saving them.
Some of the deaths are a result of "frivolous " medical errors, minor misjudgments; and equipment or medical devices that (if you are the one who dies) can only be described as "junk ". Is this what President Bush means when he exhorts to his applauding audiences that we need to get rid of "junk and frivolous medical lawsuits " in order to "save the Doc 's " (as he proclaims)? How about saving the patients? How about the 195,000 lost souls who never got to leave the hospital? How about their families? Who is responsible to them for their losses? Nobody?
If this Federal Court precedent sweeps the land one can only imagine how the pharmaceutical and health care system will be a system that will run amuck over the rights of patients and consumers. After Bush 's idea of "junk and frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits " are disallowed it will only be a matter of time before ALL lawsuits will be considered "junk and frivolous " as the insurance industry steps in for their share of the billions upon billions of loot to be pocketed at the expense of the injured and dead.
With four more years of Bush and the right wing of the Republican Party one can see that by the year 2008 if your family is hit and killed by a drunk driver it will be called a "frivolous event " if it happens on a Interstate Federal road and there will be no one to sue; if a construction crane falls on your head as you walk down a Manhattan street your family will be told they are making a "big deal " out of nothing; if an FDA approved drug that becomes a billion dollar blockbuster kills thousands of people because it proves to be harmful there will be nowhere to turn. You will be on your own. If you end up being the "walking wounded " rather than "the dead " (of which there were 195,000 this year) you will be in luck.
This new policy is a Godsend for the pharmaceutical industry, medical device industry, doctors, hospitals and medical facilities of all types and the insurance industry. The name of the game is money, money, and money. Let the patient and consumer beware. The pharmaceutical/medical device/health care insurance/physician conglomerate has now been given free rein to intensify the "health care money orgy " at the expense of patients and consumers.
President Bush and the Republican administration at the behest of the multi-billion dollar health care industry bigwigs have struck a blow to ALL Americans: rich and poor; seniors and young children and everyone in between; people of all political persuasions; and both the healthy as well as the sick and disabled. Not a single person will be immune to the universal effects of this new, despicable policy.
Lifelong conservative Republicans, the so-called right-wing Republicans and the Republican Christian coalition will feel the treachery of this new policy the most since they themselves will be the one 's that are so oblivious to being stabbed in the back by the very man they so wildly profess to admire with their support and blind adulation.
Republicans, Listen Up! We are not talking about abortion rights, nor are we talking about stem cell research; nor are we talking about the ethics of cloning or about Bush 's "frivolous lawsuits " obsession. We are not talking here about suing McDonalds for $5 million because you have spilled a hot cup of coffee on your lap. We are not talking about suing a drug company because the toothpaste you bought made you break out in hives.
Republicans (and Independents), Listen Up! We are talking about your very basic right to products that are what they say they are; products that do what they say they will do; products that are presented and advertised in an ethical manner; products that won 't kill you when they claim they will save you; products that you can trust to give your children knowing that no harm will be done. We are talking about holding people and corporations responsible for the health care products and services that we take for granted are safe because we are repeatedly told they are safe. Republicans and conservatives live in the same human body that Democrats, liberals, and Independents do.
This new Bush policy cuts across all political spectrums and screws everybody equally so the pharmaceutical and medical device industry can operate with impunity when it comes to safety and responsibility for their products and so their insurance companies are "off the hook " in terms of responsibility.
In the upcoming election the rights of all Americans are at stake.
Bush 's legacy includes 18 million people unemployed; millions more underemployed; 45 million with no health insurance whatsoever; 55% of small businesses that can 't afford group health insurance for their employees; 1.6 million personal bankruptcies a year (many due to astronomical medical bills that can 't be paid); health insurance premiums that can run over $1000 a month for a person over 45 years old; seniors that still can 't afford their prescription drugs in spite of the new $550 billion dollar Medicare reform bill that has proven to be a windfall for the pharmaceutical industry and large corporations that are dropping their private employee prescription drug policies; a Federal deficit that will be $450 billion this year; gas prices that have reached $2.50 a gallon in many regions; record high $42 a barrel oil prices in spite of liberating Iraq (one of the most oil rich nations on earth); insane tax cuts and idiotic trade policies designed to benefit "connected " corporate bigwigs; dozens of billion dollar corporate scandals with CEO 's that can 't figure out where all the stockholders money went being led off in handcuffs; a President of the NY Stock Exchange (Mr. Grasso) who was making $180 million a year (until he got "outed) " and who now has a $50 million "frivolous " lawsuit against the Exchange to get more money; and 140,000 American troops stuck in a dusty, dirty, decrepit, 7th century country (Iraq) that still can 't figure out why we came to liberate them, what we came to liberate them from, and why we just won 't go home so they can continue killing each other, in peace.
This is exactly why as a former Republican I will be voting for John Kerry and John Edwards this year. Maybe, just maybe, they can steer our country in a more sensible direction. Yes, President Bush keeps claiming that we have "turned the corner ". The last President that kept claiming we were "turning the corner " and that we could see "the light at the end of the tunnel " was Lyndon Johnson. At least Johnson was smart enough to step aside and not even run for a second term.
Bush and the right wing Republicans have had their "four years ".
Now we, as Americans, just need to "throw the bums out ".
James Boyne is a satirical, political freelance writer and has many other articles published on www.opednews.com. He has previously been a diehard, staunch, conservative Republican who has voted for Goldwater, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, and now made a 180 degree turnabout and supported the candidacy of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who appears to have the most integrity, honesty, common sense, straightforwardness, enthusiasm, optimism, and "fire in the belly " to be possibly the best President in recent memory. Kucinich is a progressive, populist, liberal, Democrat and is a man of principal, intelligence and experience. Mr. Kucinich comes from a humble background and clearly spells out his positions on issues on his web site www.kucinich.us so there is no question where he stands on issues. Accepting the inevitable, that Mr. Kucinich was not nominated; Mr. Boyne plans to vote for Senators Kerry and Edwards as the only way to save our country from economic disaster.
**It is the responsibility of all Americans to vote. You should know where all the candidates stand on different issues; why they believe what they do; how they plan on carrying out their plans (rather than just empty promises); and get a sense for their character, honesty, commitment, integrity and their vision for America and for the world. You should know what their background is. How did they get to where they are now? Know their life, and you will know them.
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