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Doctors warn against trial lawyer tax break

From the American Medical Association, "AMA, 90 Medical Organizations Oppose Tax Changes That Encourage More Lawsuits":

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Opposing any changes to the tax code that would encourage trial attorneys to file more lawsuits and add to the overall cost of health care, the American Medical Association (AMA) and 90 medical organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department. The organizations oppose a policy under consideration that would allow trial attorneys nationwide to deduct litigation expenses from their taxes in certain cases.

"Changing the tax policy to allow trial attorneys to deduct court costs and other expenses would cost taxpayers $1.5 billion and increase the cost of health care in our nation," said J. James Rohack, M.D., AMA Immediate Past-President. "This change would encourage trial attorneys to file more lawsuits."

In 2009, the American Association for Justice planned to sneak the tax break through Congress by attaching it to unrelated pieces of legislation. Once that scheme was revealed, the trial lawyer lobbyists retreated to trying to win a tax interpretation or guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury to accomplish this major policy change.

FoxNews.com is the first media outlet we've seen to cover this new development in the story ("AMA Urges Treasury to Reject Proposed Tax Change for Trial Lawyers"). Treasury, yet again, would not answer questions about the special-interest tax break.

Earlier POL coverage.

UPDATE (5:30 p.m.): Legal Newsline reported earlier this week that Treasury has not responded yet -- or indicated if it might respond -- to a letter inquiring about the tax break from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), the ranking Republicans on the respective Senate and House tax-writing committees. We'd guess Treasury officials are probably waiting until Nov. 3.

Also, Forbes' Daniel Fisher had the story on the AMA letter earlier in the day, "AMA To Geithner: No Lawyer Tax Breaks!"

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.