State tort laws have always been just that, state tort laws. States have always had the ability to develop their common law and legislation in ways that they have seen fit. But House Republicans want to change that in the area of medical malpractice.
Tort reform minded House Republicans are pushing H.R. 5, which would nationalize medical malpractice laws and wipe out those laws in each of the 50 states. To justify this proposed grab for federal power, proponents cite to the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." While interpretations of the range of power that language grants Congress vary widely, the Commerce Clause has also been cited as the basis for Congress to pass Obamacare. And therein lies the hypocrisy of the tort reformers.
It is the same proponents of H.R. 5 who have been jumping up and down screaming about Obamacare. And they keep taking their fight to the courts demanding that it be declared unconstitutional. Why? Because Congress did not have the power to pass it – the Commerce Clause doesn’t go that far. Priceless.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.