Saturday, September 13, 2008

GOP candidate for US Congress (IL) will not protect patients

Marty Ozinga is a Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Illinois' 11th District.

Mr. Ozinga is interested in "meaningful, market-driven healthcare solutions." Okay, that sounds like a good idea. It sounds as though Mr. Ozinga may have a grasp of what we need to bring healthcare costs down to a reasonable level.

But, wait a minute -- what is Mr. Ozinga's position on protecting Illinois citizens from negligent medical care and "bad doctors"?

A good gauge would be to determine where Mr. Ozinga stands on the issue of caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice matters? Let's look at the issue page of Ozinga's political website. No ambiguity here.

Mr. Ozinga favors "medical malpractice caps to deter junk lawsuits against health providers." That statement is nonsensical. Mr. Ozinga apparently does not care about the many people of Illinois who are injured every day by medical negligence and incompetence.

And, frankly, the flip statement is insulting to this card carrying Republican who was in fact injured by an Illinois orthopedic surgeon (Dr. Chris Dangles of Carle Clinic Association). The injury started in November 2000. Eight years later, I have undergone four repair surgeries and face more surgery. The unnecessary surgeries by Dr. Chris Dangles directly impacted my professional career. The lesson in my case was to hurt the patient badly enough so that she cannot work and then there are no lost wages!

There is absolutely no correlation between medical malpractice caps and "junk lawsuits."

There is no difference in the noneconomic damages associated with

(a) a plaintiff who loses use of his two legs as a consequence of an automobile accident involving Mr. Ozinga's family cement company - Ozinga Bros Inc - and

(b) a plaintiff who loses use of his two legs as a consequence of a "bad doctor."

But, if Ozinga gets his way, a plaintiff injured by straight personal injury (i.e. auto accident) could seek NED whereas a plaintiff injured by a surgeon could not.

Sure, a cap on medical malpractice damages would discourage "junk lawsuits." Mr. Ozinga, a cap on NED would discourage all medical malpractice lawsuits. And, since the attractiveness of a case will revolve around the patient's lost wages, caps on NEDs unfairly punishes the elderly and the poor. An attorney wants 1/2 of something. If there is no income to recover than these people will have no recourse in the legal system. That seems wrong to me.

So, back to Marty Ozinga. I trust that this is not the same Marty (Martin) Ozinga that the GOP considered as the replacement for Jack Ryan? Barack Obama had a free ride to the position of United States Senator when Jack Ryan was out of the race. The GOP had to go out-of-state to find a candidate. And, how has that worked out for Illinois residents? Did Obama ever serve as our senator before he commenced his presidential campaign?

I recollect an issue (reported in a late January 2005, issue of the Chicago Tribune) involving allegations that the Ozinga family concrete firm repeatedly dodged Chicago city rules and exploited an affirmative-action program to win lucrative city contracts. According to the allegations of wrong-doing, the Ozinga firm achieved tens of millions of dollars in city contracts and members of the family-owned firm were launched into noted positions in local political and charitable circles.

According to the Chicago Tribune,
the Ozinga firm entered into a contract with the city of Chicago in March 2003. And then, several months later, an Ozinga Bros. subsidiary donated $25,000 to the pro-Daley Hispanic Democratic Organization. The Tribune reported (and state of Illinois records confirmed) that this was the single biggest political donation the Ozingas, all Republicans.

Ahh, Chicago politics.

The connection between Daley and Ozinga may also explain why Ozinga did not run against Barack Obama for the U.S. Senatorial seat from Illinois.

But, what explains Ozinga's lack of understanding about economics and effect of caps on medical malpractice NED?

Can my GOP please locate respectable, ethical candidates in Illinois? The people of Illinois deserve no less.

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