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Trial Lawyers Help HMO Patients

July 01, 2001

The Michael Ramirez cartoon showing a "tort lawyer" (Commentary, June 24) represents an unfair stereotype perpetuated by the special interests served by the political right. I would ask Ramirez to put his mother in the place of a 65-year-old client of mine who lost sight in her eye because of an HMO's refusal to pay for a biopsy because the patient wanted to undergo the procedure near her daughter, from whom she could get post-procedure care, instead of 60 miles away. Or Ramirez could put his father in place of my client whose skull was eaten away by cancer because of the HMO's refusal to pay for a procedure that all treating physicians were recommending. Assuming that Ramirez has a child, I would ask him to put that child in place of a client who suffered irreparable damage to his leg because an HMO would not authorize a simple radiological study. Whom would Ramirez call under these circumstances, Sen. Trent Lott?

All of these cases would have gone uncompensated had a trial lawyer not been willing to invest tens of thousands of dollars of his own money or hundreds of hours of time--an investment without any assurance of return because of years of propaganda financed by insurance companies and large corporations bashing the tort system.

David L. Margulies

Woodland Hills

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Democrats feel that it's just fine to place price caps on electricity, fuel, earnings, profits and anything else that free Americans have earned. Now they are pushing the patients' bill of rights, better known as the trial lawyers retirement act. Since they believe in restricting the free market and imposing socialism, why aren't we hearing calls for a cap on attorney fees? If the caps are good for businesses, why aren't they good for trial lawyers also?

Clarence Alford

Alta Loma

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