Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hypocrisy of attacks on consumers

The efforts being made by tort reformers to make it harder for citizens to stand up for their rights is part of a larger attack on the health and safety of all consumers. Consumers are under attack by large business interests, and tort reform is just one battleground. Others are in the health care and financial arenas. In order to see the hypocrisy of these 'reformers,' it is necessary to look no further than the AJC.

For example, an AJC article last week reported that both of Georgia's Senators were among the 32 Republicans who just voted against the bill to expand health insurance coverage to 4 million children who are presently uninsured. The estimated cost of that legislation is $32 billion over the next 4-1/2 years, or around $7 billion per year. Yet in the same issue of the AJC, it was reported in another article that banking executives had paid themselves $18 billion in bonuses over the past year -- using funds from the massive financial industry bailout that was supported by the same Georgia Senators. What is more important, $7 billion to provide health care for 4 million American, or $18 billion to make rich bankers even richer?

The week before, the AJC reported that a four-year study by the GAO revealed woeful deficiencies in the FDA's review process for approval of medical devices. The article stated that 228 medical devices had been approved by the FDA without adequate review, and reported that “the FDA acknowledged the problem.” But in the same issue of the AJC, there was an editorial by columnist Jim Wooten supporting Governor Perdue's proposal to immunize companies from lawsuits over deaths and injuries caused by FDA-approved drugs and medical devices which may be dangerous despite being rubber-stamped by FDA bureaucrats. Peanuts, anyone?

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