John Edwards: A Liability to Ending Poverty

Rick Moran
John Edwards is quite the poverty warrior these days. The man who lives in the $29 million mansion and luxuriates in getting $400 haircuts might be forgiven his hypocrisy if, as this article in the New York Post points out, he hadn't become the richest trial lawyer in North Carolina history by making it impossible for those very same poor people he claims to champion to get decent health care:
There are plenty of causes for this sad heath-care situation. But Edwards wasn't talking about one of the biggest causes - the cause he is among the most responsible for. "The primary factor is liability insurance," said Dr. Stuart Weinstein, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Iowa. "It's either too expensive in areas like that or simply not available anymore." Virginia's medical-liability insurance rates - driven largely by the very types of lawsuits that made Edwards a multimillionaire many times over - have more than doubled in three years, according to the nonpartisan Medical Liability Monitor. In Edwards' home state, those premiums quadrupled. As a result, doctors have fled rural areas or quit practicing altogether.
Edwards got rich and famous using junk science to win his cases. And many of those cases involved gynecologists and maternity wards whose only mistake was not to deny women with high risk pregnancies medical care:
The untold story of Edwards's candidacy is that Edwards may have built his fortune in part by relying on the very sort of "junk science" medical-malpractice lawsuits that have created a health-care crisis in no fewer than 19 states. Some of Edwards's biggest wins — including a jury verdict of $6.5 million (reduced to $2.75 million on appeal) and a settlement of a reported $5 million — came from cases suing doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies over infant cerebral palsy allegedly due to botched deliveries. Yet as my Manhattan Institute colleague Walter Olson has documented in the Wall Street Journal and on his website overlawyered.com, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in a comprehensive study released last year, determined that delivery problems were not to blame for cerebral palsy in the "vast majority" of cases. Cerebral palsy is instead typically caused by factors beyond the doctor's control, such as maternal thyroid problems, genetic abnormalities, or prenatal infection.
Edwards' hypocrisy knows no bounds. His own actions that made him wealthy subsequently put doctors who practiced in rural areas out of business thanks to high insurance premiums. What are the chances of poor people hearing about that?

(Hat Tip: Ed Lasky)
John Edwards is quite the poverty warrior these days. The man who lives in the $29 million mansion and luxuriates in getting $400 haircuts might be forgiven his hypocrisy if, as this article in the New York Post points out, he hadn't become the richest trial lawyer in North Carolina history by making it impossible for those very same poor people he claims to champion to get decent health care:
There are plenty of causes for this sad heath-care situation. But Edwards wasn't talking about one of the biggest causes - the cause he is among the most responsible for. "The primary factor is liability insurance," said Dr. Stuart Weinstein, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Iowa. "It's either too expensive in areas like that or simply not available anymore." Virginia's medical-liability insurance rates - driven largely by the very types of lawsuits that made Edwards a multimillionaire many times over - have more than doubled in three years, according to the nonpartisan Medical Liability Monitor. In Edwards' home state, those premiums quadrupled. As a result, doctors have fled rural areas or quit practicing altogether.
Edwards got rich and famous using junk science to win his cases. And many of those cases involved gynecologists and maternity wards whose only mistake was not to deny women with high risk pregnancies medical care:
The untold story of Edwards's candidacy is that Edwards may have built his fortune in part by relying on the very sort of "junk science" medical-malpractice lawsuits that have created a health-care crisis in no fewer than 19 states. Some of Edwards's biggest wins — including a jury verdict of $6.5 million (reduced to $2.75 million on appeal) and a settlement of a reported $5 million — came from cases suing doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies over infant cerebral palsy allegedly due to botched deliveries. Yet as my Manhattan Institute colleague Walter Olson has documented in the Wall Street Journal and on his website overlawyered.com, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in a comprehensive study released last year, determined that delivery problems were not to blame for cerebral palsy in the "vast majority" of cases. Cerebral palsy is instead typically caused by factors beyond the doctor's control, such as maternal thyroid problems, genetic abnormalities, or prenatal infection.
Edwards' hypocrisy knows no bounds. His own actions that made him wealthy subsequently put doctors who practiced in rural areas out of business thanks to high insurance premiums. What are the chances of poor people hearing about that?

(Hat Tip: Ed Lasky)