At his personal blog on subrogation issues, Boston attorney Adam V. Russo has posted a message from the American Association of Justice hailing the passage of the Senate health care bill, "SENATE PASSES HISTORIC HEALTHCARE REFORM LEGISLATION!" [UPDATE: From AAJ President Anthony Tarricone]
I am pleased to report that this bill is clear of any provisions that would limit an injured patient's rights concerning medical negligence claims. This is a stunning victory for your clients considering great pressure from the insurance industry and other interests to include medical malpractice tort "reform" in this bill. While there is a provision for demonstration projects, it provides an absolute opt-out clause for plaintiffs at any time. While some states may embark on demonstration programs we find objectionable, the opt-out provision for plaintiffs minimizes this concern.
The message also touts the work, including its advertising campaign, done by the AAJ to fight off tort reform. The New York Times today offers a very positive report of that PR effort, highlighting the group's ad buy in the Union Station Metro on the Senate side of Capitol Hill. See "An Underground Campaign."
The rest of the message warns against a House-Senate conference that "could allow medical malpractice tort reform to once again enter the dialogue at a critical time," thanks members for their activism, and urges members of state groups to join the national association. Thus, it's a typical trade association e-mail, but it certainly reaffirms the analysis that Walter offered at Overlawyered.com, that the Senate bill rewards trial lawyers while providing political cover against serious tort reform.