In the discussion over health-care reform, many have suggested that the Constitutional guarantees of  ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…’ must be interpreted to mean that health-care is a right.  Their argument is that these are ‘hollow promises’ if one cannot stay healthy enough to enjoy them.  I understand their point, though I disagree.  However, if one accepts the idea (for the sake of argument), it raises another intriguing question.

That is, don’t the promises of ‘Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness’ require that we have equal access to justice?  Therefore, shouldn’t we all have equal access to legal representation?

The health-care debate often ends up with the question of fairness.  ‘Is it fair that this person has access to more access to medical care, or has access to better medical care, than another…all due to financial advantage?’

Well, I would ask, ‘is it fair that in a court battle, civil or criminal, one person should have legal representation that is more expensive and presumably higher quality than another?’

If we are hell-bent to reform health-care, why not reform ‘legal-care?’  Let the federal government appoint a litigation Czar, set fees across the land, ration attorneys (by forcing some people to simply accept the idea of settling the case or pleading guilty…much like accepting inferior care or no care for a serious illness). 

Furthermore, to help fund the rest of the nation’s woes, set a 10% surcharge on awards from civil litigation, as well as a 5% ‘provider tax’ on attorneys engaged in civil litigation!

Fairness in health-care access must necessarily be followed (or preceeded) by fairness in litigation.

Pass litigation reform now!  The future depends on it…

Edwin

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