Friday, March 26, 2010

Trial Lawyers will get their Christmas in April....but why did some Republicans tie on the bow?

It's Christmas in April for Trial Lawyers in Annapolis! One of their pet bills has passed out of the House of Delegates....with some Republican support, no less. And at the end of the day, taxpayers are going to be the ones left holding the bag.

House Bill 825 passed out of the House earlier this week. The bill increases the minimum amount of coverage for injury or death related to a car accident from $20,000 or $40,000 (for one or two cars) to $30,000 or $60,000 (for one or two cars).

And it's a that point that things patently fly off the handle.
As part of the process, insurance companies are going to need to create a new classification of insurance policy. The standard slotting for insurance policies across the country have always been incremental. They current $20,000/$40,000 slot is standard across the country. The next slot is $25,000/$50,000, the standard in the District of Columbia. The slot after that jumps to $50,000/$100,000. Insurance companies are going to have to create a whole new classification of policy specifically to deal with Maryland if this passes....a policy which, incidentally the Sun points out will be among the highest liability coverage rates in the nation.

When you are increasing costs to the insurance companies, for having to create an entirely new classification of policy, while at the same time increasing the required coverage for policyholders, guess who is going to be left holding the bag. Consumers. But it won't impact most consumers....

No, the brunt of this impact will be felt by low-income Marylanders, the same middle and working class families that Democrats routinely go out of there way to stick it to. As a matter of fact, almost the entirety of the premium increase will be taken out of MAIF's policy holders., which of course lead to some drivers driving without misurance altogether. As House Minority Leader Tony O'Donnell so poignantly noted:

"This bill is going to hurt people at the bottom end of the socioeconomic ladder," said House Minority Leader Anthony J. O'Donnell. "It's a tax increase. Call it something else. It's a burden that's going to come out of their pockets."
This bill is, at its most basic level, a ten-percent increase in insurance premiums for those least able to afford a ten-percent increase in insurance premiums. It's why the Democrats don't blink a passing such an expense on to the taxpayers, because their raison d'etre is to hurt people at the bottom end of the socioeconomic ladder to enrich their special interest buddies.....

....which leads me to the Christmas in April title of this post. You see, this bill is being championed by two groups of people:
  • The O'Malley Administration
  • The Trial Lawyers that keep the O'Malley campaign awash in contributions.
Within the Administration, there has been a gag order on this bill. Leadership at the Maryland Insurance Administration is against this. Leadership at MAIF is against this. But they have been gagged on the orders from the Second Floor of the State House to stay out of the way and let this pass. Insurance companies are also opposing this as well, because it's an administrative burden on them and will increase their cost of doing business in the state of Maryland as well.

This friends is O'Malley's gift to the trial lawyers. Presumably, it's to make sure that his campaign stays funded this fall.....but it may also be a tacit admission that the O'Malley Campaign and his trial lawyer allies have no confidence whatsoever in O'Malley's ability to get himself re-elected.

Incidentally, this isn't the only O'Malley give away to the trial lawyers; SB 119 has passed out of the Senate, a constitutional amendment that would raise from $10,000 to $20,000 the minimum amount of damages that would be required to be sough in order to guarantee the right to a jury trial....

O'Malley's Christmas in April give-a-way to the trial lawyers is bad enough. But then nine Republicans broke with the caucus and decided to vote with O'Malley on this issue. If anybody would like to explain why the following Republican Delegates broke ranks with their party and decided that Marylanders need to pay more for insurance, I'm all ears:
  • Bob Costa
  • Donald Elliott
  • Rick Impallaria
  • James King
  • Pat McDonough
  • Tanya Shewell
  • Mike Smigiel
  • Donna Stifler
  • Nancy Stocksdale
These are the kind of a votes where we need a cohesive Republican Caucus that stands up for taxapayers and not special interests...and it is VERY hard for us Republicans to make the argument that we are a better choice for Maryland's middle and working class families when we've got such a large percentage of the Republican caucus going off the reservation and siding with Governor O'Malley and the trial lawyers.

The people of Maryland, particular those Marylanders who are least able to pay, should not be subject to Martin O'Malley's giveaways to his trial lawyer special interest buddies. We owe it to ourselves and to the future of our state to make our opinion's about Governor O'Malley and his handouts at the ballot box this November.

(Crossposted)

2 comments:

JokersWild said...

Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

Thanks to our eastern shore reps who towed the line.

Hey Mike, we're dissapointed and I would expect that many contributors will remember this vote.

Augieboy said...

If 99% of the claims fall below the current threshold, why would we support an increase in coverage limits? I am confused...

Christmas in April indeed....

Thanks Brian!

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