AHIP Begins 'shark' attack on trial bar

Roll Call
Monday, March 28, 2005

America's Health Insurance Plans today kicks off a bristly lobbying and advertising campaign that's designed to propel medical malpractice legislation to the forefront of Congress' agenda.
The group is blanketing the backsides of city buses and walls of Metrorail stations with ads that feature wide-open skeletal shark jaws - a none-too-subtle slap at plaintiffs' attorneys, whom AHIP blames for "lawsuit abuse."
And next week, when Congress returns to Washington, AHIP will air 30-second television ads complete with foreboding music, saying, "It's time for Congress to stop lawsuit abuse. Because until they do, it won't be safe for anyone to go back into the water."
AHIP's opponents say the ads are merely an attempt to divert the debate from injured patients and greedy insurance companies to lawyers.
"When you have no facts on your side, often people indulge in histrionics," said Carlton Carl, spokesman for the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. "The insurance industry and its lobbyists are attacking lawyers, but their real targets are the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are injured."

Of course, the other side has been running ads of its own. When the AMA had some of its doctors visit Washington earlier this month to lobby Congress on medical liability, USAction and a coalition that includes Public Citizen and the Center for Justice and Democracy, took out ads in several publications, including Roll Call and USA Today.
"We wanted the doctors who were in town, as they got their free USA Today newspaper, to see the ad," said USAction's Helen Gonzales.
For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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