Chris Prandoni

Trial Lawyers Thwart Meaningful Healthcare Reform

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, August 6th, 2009, 3:22 PM PERMALINK

There is consensus among Americans that something must be done to address healthcare costs, currently consuming 16 percent of GDP. The Obama administration has wedded itself to healthcare and is searching for reform. Unfortunately, Democratic plans are incredibly expensive and do not lower costs, just minor details. With a price tag around $1 trillion over 10 years, it is hard to see how spending extravagant amounts of taxpayer money saves Americans money. And Democrats wonder why a plurality of Americans oppose Obama’s healthcare plan.

Regrettably, for Americans who see their medical expenses rising, Democrats have taken one obvious cost-cutting measure off the table: medical tort reform. The current malpractice system is one that is terribly inefficient and expensive. There is no limit to how much money patients can sue for and no standard system for dealing with these claims.
Doctors combat impending lawsuits in two ways, both of which unnecessarily inflate the cost of healthcare. Most doctors purchase malpractice or asset protection insurance as safeguards against lawsuits. These insurance plans are expensive and raise overhead costs for hospitals. Secondly, doctors are forced to practice defensive medicine. Defensive medicine takes place when doctors order needless tests or procedures to protect themselves against future lawsuits. A 2008 survey found that 83% of Massachusetts doctors practice defensive medicine and that 25% of all imaging tests were ordered for defensive purposes.
Medical tort reform drives down insurance premiums by reducing the amount of tests insurance companies cover each year. This would reduce healthcare costs by as much as $200 billion a year. So why are no Democrats talking about eliminating defensive medicine as an easy way to save billions of taxpayer dollars? Trial lawyers, the only opponents to medical tort reform, happen to be in bed with Democrats, consistently raising millions for the Democratic Party. Democrats have sold out the American public for trial lawyers’ “donations.”
While Congress recesses, Democrats will try and cook the books on healthcare, looking to make their plans appear deficit neutral. An honest discussion about healthcare reform is not possible until special interests- trial lawyers- are expelled from the conversation. Until then, the status quo and handouts that burden our healthcare system will continue.   


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The Truth About EFCA & Pensions

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009, 5:13 PM PERMALINK


The Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF), an organization established in 2003 to combat anti-worker legislation and promote free and open labor markets, strongly opposes the Employee Free-Choice Act’s (EFCA) binding arbitration clause.

Under EFCA, government arbitrators are given complete control over labor-business contract disputes. The employer and employees hands will be tied in negotiations leaving the workers powerless over their own employment fate. 
•    Government arbitrators could force workers into underfunded pensions, putting their retirement at risk
•    The average union pension has resources to cover only 62% of what is owed to participants
•    Less than one in every 160 workers is covered by a union pension with required assets
•    Under EFCA, government arbitrators can force businesses to fund failing pensions
•    The PBGC already supports upwards of 30,000 pension plans
•    Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), the governmental pension insurer, will assume $86.7 billion in liabilities by 2015
•    The PBGC limits the benefits in multi-employer plans to $13,000 a year per retiree, compared with roughly $52,000 for single-employer plans.
•    In 2007, the PBGC reported a deficit of $955 million, a $216 million increase from the previous year
•    On July 23, PBGC agreed to take on $6.2 billion in pension liabilities from bankrupt auto supplier Delphi Corp

When pensions fail, the government has to pick up the tab. EFCA silences workers’ voices and pushes them into failing pensions.


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AWF Urges Co-Sponsorship of Pete Olson's (R-TX) H.R. 3309 Small Business Job Security Act

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009, 2:53 PM PERMALINK

22 July 2009

Re: Cosponsor Pete Olson’s (R-TX) H.R. 3309 and save American jobs

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF), an organization established in 2003 to combat anti-worker legislation and promote free and open labor markets, I urge you to cosponsor H.R. 3309, introduced by Rep. Olson (R-TX) which will delay the third and final stage of the federal minimum wage increase until next year.

Minimum wage laws interfere with free market principles and reduce economic growth. Businesses, which are already struggling to stay afloat, will be forced to pay higher wages raising day-to-day costs. Employers will be forced to cut corners and reduce expenses, commonly done by reducing the payroll, or firing workers.

There is a direct correlation between minimum wage and unemployment increases. On May 25, 2007 congress passed legislation raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over the next three years. Accompanying the minimum wage increase, unemployment rates rose 106.5%, from 4.5% to 9.5%. On July 26, 2009 the minimum wage rate climbed to $7.25 from $6.55. H.R. 3309 would return the minimum wage back to the previous rate of $6.55 until July 24, 2010.

The new federal rate affected 31 states, impacting thousands of businesses and millions of workers. Tragically, the minimum wage increase disproportionately hurts the people it is trying to help. In 2009, as unemployment rates rose nationally, 15.5% of people without high school diplomas were unemployed and 37.8% of African-American teens, both astonishingly high numbers.

Raising the minimum wage does nothing to address unemployment rates, the underlying problem facing the American economy. America will once again rely on private business to innovate and create wealth. Government should be nurturing the private sector, not strangling it. Promote growth, stop minimum wage increases.  

I hope you will join Congressman Pete Olson and cosponsor this bill. Your support will save jobs and help America bounce back from its current economic crisis. If you would like to be added as a cosponsor to this bill, please have your staff contact Jesse Lashbrook at

Brian M. Johnson, MPA
Executive Director

cc: All House Members

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Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) Sponsors EFCA

Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, July 9th, 2009, 5:15 PM PERMALINK

No surprise here. In his first act of official legislative business, the freshman Senator from Minnesota co-sponsors the S. 560, the Employee Free Choice Act. AWF issued the following release:

No Surprise Here: Al Franken Co-Sponsors Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)
First piece of legislation sets standard for liberal streak

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  The newly confirmed freshman Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken (D) announced that he has co-sponsored S. 560, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) also known as “card check” in front of the AFL-CIO headquarters.

This anti-worker piece of legislation will have the following effects:
o    Cost an estimated 600,000 American jobs in the first year alone
o    Eliminates the federally supervised secret ballot election process
o    Open workers up to threats, harassment and intimation by union members
o    Replaces the will of workers with the whims of government arbitrators
o    Empowers government arbitrators to unilaterally “render a decision” after just 120 days of bargaining, thereby dictating contract terms upon workers and employers alike
o    Workers and employers will have less motivation to negotiate reasonably
o    Workers will be forced to participate in dangerously underfunded multi-employer pension plans
o    Fails to identify how arbitrators will be appointed, which opens the door to further uncertainty and governmental mischief
“It is no surprise that Al Franken is falling lock-step behind the Reid-Pelosi-Obama union funded agenda,” says AWF Executive Director Brian Johnson. “At a time when American workers need to keep their money, Senator Franken wants to force them to pay union dues and force them into underfunded pension plans and force them to surrender their bargaining rights to a union boss.”
National Press & Talk Radio Alert:
To schedule an interview with Brian Johnson, call 202-785-0266 or email

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