Dr. Richard B. Rafal, a radiologist in New York City, has written an interesting and spirited op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. He writes, “Since we are moving toward socialism with ObamaCare, the time has come to do the same with other professions—especially lawyers. Physician committees can decide whether lawyers are necessary in any given situation.”
Following are highlights of a proposed bill authorizing the dismantling of the current framework of law practice and instituting socialized legal care:
• Legal “DRGs.” Each potential legal situation will be assigned a relative value, and charges limited to this amount. Program participation and acceptance of this amount is mandatory, regardless of the number of hours spent on the matter. Government schedules of flat fees for each service, analogous to medicine’s Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), will be issued. For example, any divorce will have a set fee of, say, $1,000, regardless of its simplicity or complexity. This will eliminate shady hourly billing. Niggling fees such as $2 per page photocopied or faxed would disappear. Who else nickels-and-dimes you while at the same time charging hundreds of dollars per hour? I’m surprised lawyers don’t tack shipping and handling onto their bills.
• Legal “death panels.” Over 75? You will not be entitled to legal care for any matter. Why waste money on those who are only going to die soon? We can decrease utilization, save money and unclog the courts simultaneously. Grandma, you’re on your own.
• Discourage/eliminate specialization. Legal specialists with extra training and experience charge more money, contributing to increased costs of legal care, making it unaffordable for many. This reform will guarantee a selection of mediocre, unmotivated attorneys but should help slow rising legal costs. Big shot under indictment? Classified National Archives documents down your pants? Sitting president defending against impeachment? Have FBI agents found $90,000 in your freezer? Too bad. Under reform you too may have to go to the government legal shop for advice.
• New government oversight. Government overhead to manage the legal system will include a cabinet secretary, commissioners, ombudsmen, auditors, assistants, czars and departments.
• Collect data about the supply of and demand for attorneys. Create a commission to study the diversity and geographic distribution of attorneys, with power to stipulate and enforce corrective actions to right imbalances. The more bureaucracy the better. One can never have too many eyes watching these sleazy sneaks.
• Lawyer Reduction Act (H.R. -3200). A self-explanatory bill that not only decreases the number of law students, but also arbitrarily removes 3,200 attorneys from practice each year. Textbook addition by subtraction.
Citizens and experts across the nation are throwing up evidence as to why nationalization of health care is wrong and impractical. But it really all comes down to one central point: government is far less efficient than the free market. While the latter leads to prosperity and innovation, the former is the path to stagnation.