This session of the North Carolina General Assembly has seen bills aimed a reducing people’s rights and favors business over the welfare of NC’s citizens. Simply by creating a committee whose sole purpose is reviewing all tort-reform bills shows the single minded determination this year to reduce individuals rights in favor of corporate irresponsibility. In both the Senate and House legislation has been proposed that would allow NC to become one of two states that would exclude the right to pursue negligence against any manufacturer that obtains governmental approval for their product. Obviously this would be a huge boom for the pharmaceutical industry that has been known for rushing products to the public without full disclosure of the potential side effects. Essentially all pharmaceutical products approved by the FDA would be protected regardless of the knowledge of the company not given to the FDA . Governor Perdue recently announced that North Carolina is the second most business friendly state in a recent survey. Why continue to reduce the protections for our citizens when we are already considered so business friendly? The General Assembly is also considering changes that would include allowing an intoxicated defendant to reduce the amount they owe to a victim by putting on evidence of the amount of health insurance paid by the injured victim. Allowing a drunk to reduce the amount of medical expenses of their victim by allowing that drunk to put on evidence of health insurance paid without allowing into evidence the amount of the drunk’s automobile insurance is just unfair. Also proposed this year is a cap on damages paid by emergency room physicians. The reasoning behind such a cap is that emergency room physicians cannot choose their patients. Of course, the hospital has no issue with billing all comers at a greatly inflated rate, nor is their a prohibition on the amount that ER physicians can be paid. What is not discussed is North Carolina already has one of the most restrictive rules prior to filing a Medical Malpractice case requiring a physician of similar training to sign off on the fact that negligence was committed prior to any lawsuit being filed. Additionally, what benefit to the public is created that by increasing the standard of proof of negligence for ER negligence? Should we really want to encourage a REDUCTION in overall standards of care for our physicians? It seems more moving backward than forward to reduce the qualifications of our ER physicians. Our nation was founded upon a system of checks and balances where our judicial system helps to keep control of the legislative and executive branch. Why, when our state is already is found to be one of the top two most buisness friendly states in the nation, should we be taking away the rights of our citize
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