March 23, 2010, - 12:08 pm

Trial Lawyer on ObamaCare: “Get Ready for $25 (or $30) Hamburgers”

By Debbie Schlussel

Yesterday, I was talking to a good friend of mine, who is one of the most prominent trial lawyers in the Detroit area.  He’s a Republican and a staunch conservative on most fiscal issues . . . except what he does for a living.


$25 or $30 Under ObamaCare? Don’t Bet Against It.

My friend, the trial lawyer, and I were discussing the impending disaster to come as a result of the ObamaCare bill’s passage.  And we both decried it from a personal perspective, with my friend agreeing that this will significantly raise the prices of everything and how it will put many businesses out of work and cause a steep loss in jobs.

“But it’s great for trial lawyers like me,” my friend said.  “Get ready for $25 hamburgers.  Actually, with our lawsuits, maybe even $30 hamburgers.”

My friend explained that with every new entitlement, every new massive giveaway, there are lots to be harvested in the form of new grounds for lawsuits.

Whether it’s social security or workers comp or, now, this healthcare bill, there’s a lot of great stuff in it for me.  Trust me, my phones will be ringing off the hook with new plaintiffs wanting to sue over this or that provision in the healthcare bill.  It’s horrible how much this is going to cost in terms of not just added costs to employers, like Caterpillar, but in terms of new lawsuits that’ll clog the courts.  I haven’t read the bill, yet, but I’m sure there are lots of news lawsuits this creates.

And my friend is probably right.  Plus, he’s no different than the legislators who voted for the bill.  They haven’t read it yet, either.

It will be interesting to see which explodes more quickly, the litigation explosion or the price of your burger at the lunch counter.

So, how much are you willing to pay for a hamburger?  The price may be steep.  But in that $25 hamburger, you’re really paying for ObamaCare.

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39 Responses

Debbie, as a lawyer, you could harvest the goldmine that is Obamacare, too. But you’re too ethical for it and with the way this badly-written bill was produced, most of which no one has read, we will be paying the price for it for a long time to come.

NormanF on March 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Did it occur to anyone besides me that one result of nationalized healthcare could be a sharp drop in medical malpractice lawsuits? A lawyer whose mother needs an operation, for example, would be afraid to sue the people who decide if she does or does not get it.

MRS: No, because that kind of lawyer will definitely sue to make sure his mother gets the operation. There is going to be a sharp increase–not decrease–in lawsuits. It will be big business for trial lawyers, which is the point of this post. DS

Miranda Rose Smith on March 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    What if his mother dies while the lawsuit is in progress?

    Miranda Rose Smith on March 23, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Sorry Debbie, but I look at most, NOT ALL lawyers as weasels. I see most of them as just one step above politicians. Lawyers may just be the people who financially gain the most by ObamaCare. I have nothing against financial gain, but there has to be a cap on all lawsuits to prevent these people from becoming rich like John Edwards and other ambulance chasers.

J: I look at most of them as weasels, too. I’m just presenting the insight of one trial lawyer about how much this will cost. . . because this law provides NO CAP on lawsuits. DS

Jarhead on March 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm

It’s despicable how ZerObama just gets away with lie after lie.

It’s despicable how most Americans haven’t even a modicum of a clue of how this will destroy the America that was once great. They don’t even understand that the myriad of taxes that are coming will arrive first, and health care will not go into effect ’til 2014…with the 2018 taxes on “cadillac” plans being instituted loooong after ZerObama is gone. Maybe. Also, this is just the foundation for complete a single-payer system.


Skunky on March 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm

How could you be a conservative EXCEPT FOR WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING. I mean so when it comes down to money you will do anything. Mark Levin is also a “conservative” lawyer.

A true conservative would at least try to do something to make lawsuits not out of control the way they are today.

I think a LOSER PAY RULE would stop frivilous lawsuits. Lindasy Grahm is also a republican lawyer. Lawyers could make a fine living without all the excesses in trial law.

A: Please read more closely. I said he was conservative on fiscal issues. DS

adam on March 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Can someone explain to me how this whole thing is even Constitutional? I admit I am an average gal and maybe I am missing something here but how can the U.S. giv’t mandate that American citizens must purchase an insurance product from a private company and if not – get hit with a penalty to be paid to the U.S. Giv’t or that private company?

Also, how is this impacting on illegal aliens? Guess they still go to ER’s and get medical treatment?

OneScaredMomma on March 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm

There are conservatives who are lawyers – including the person who runs this site. Its an honorable profession but trial tort lawyers make life more expensive for every one and one of the reasons there are no caps on lawsuits in the Obamacare bill to be signed into law this morning is the fact that trial tort lawyers are a major contributor to the Democrats. Thus, the end result of Obamacare may well be to make health care even more expensive and less accessible than it is today.

Hence the point of Debbie’s post.

NormanF on March 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm

So we who work are all gonna literally be subsidizing the health insurance for people who are obese and drinkers and smokers and other substance abusers too. Guess the days of being responsible for one’s self adn understanding that selish actions can have negative consequences are truly over.

And... on March 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    oh no. Look for the Dems to put more taxes to prevent obesity

    ari-free on March 23, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    When you start to understand, that it’s NOT understandable, your beginning to understand…

    Who cares? on March 23, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Isn’t unconstitutional for Congress to exempt themselves from laws that they make?

ebayer on March 23, 2010 at 1:16 pm

We’ll have twenty five or thirty dollar hamburgers a lot sooner from hyperinflation than any lawsuits.

tyler on March 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Dear Debbie,

Great article as usual.

I’m a huge fan of your writings – even though you’re a Lawyer!!! (LOL, don’t be angry at me, I’m just joking…) Reminds me of that good ol’anti-semite that used to tell the Jew “- you’re such a nice guy that one would hardly notice you’re Jewish!!”)

Let’s take a brief look at the original Jewish legal system, the Rabbinical Court (Beit Din). It used to operate like this: there’s the plaintiff, the defendant and the Judge (who may have assistant judges, according to the complexity of the case). The Judge summons the witnesses and interrogates them. NO ATTORNEYS!! (for the plaintiff & defendant).
The Judge analyzes the case, interrogates the involved and the witnesses and makes the decision based on the evidences (which may be gathered by investigators or technical surveyors).
There’s nobody to instruct the plaintiff on how to extort the maximum possible amount from the plaintiff, nor to train the defendant on how to lie, omit or distort the facts in his favor.
And it worked for thousands of years, without bureaucracy and with the minimum corruption (obviously, there may have existed a few corrupted judges and/ or witnesses, but they were mostly unmasked and severely punished as an example to keep the system reliable).

Another possible approach would also be the free-market system as advocated by Murray Rothbard, where plaintiff & defendant contract a specific private court company composed by recognized competent judges and assistants, who would judge the case in the best interest of both parties, so that the private entity would keep its good reputation in the market in order to survive and be successful.

There are indeed many alternatives to the current USA justice and courts system, which has turned to be a Kafkian bureaucratic machine that protects the interest of the group(s) in power.

BTW, the picture is quite the same throughout the whole so-called free world, not to mention the rotten systems that can be found in the non-free countries – comunist dictatorships, muslim countries etc.

G-d help us from falling prey of the “Law”!!!

Jewish Reader from Brazil on March 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    JR from Brazil,
    The American Legal system DOES provide a similar method, it’s called a bench trial and eliminates a jury of favor of direct judicial ruling. When you see some of the trolls on this site, no way would I permit a jury to decide my fate. Those aren’t my peers in any way, I know that’s not what the law means but when you have “jury consultants” to help pick the most favorable people, that’s what it has devolved to.
    Fortunately, it is a moot point since I will never step foot in the country of my birth ever again.
    The problem is lawyers don’t tell their clients this is available to them and if the client knows to ask, the lawyers will do anything to get them to change their minds.

    mk750 on March 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Funny how everyone hates lawyers until they need one.

Adam:”I think a LOSER PAY RULE would stop frivilous (sic) lawsuits.”

Some states have implemented a form of loser pays, such as Florida:

It is used quite frequently, perhaps not enough.

Jewish Marksman on March 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm

tyler writes, “We’ll have twenty five or thirty dollar hamburgers a lot sooner from hyperinflation than any lawsuits.”

Even in the absence of inflation, the value of the dollar internationally is declining – by 20% against some currencies in the last year. And if the liberals squeeze the production of cattle here (because, you know, cow farts cause global warming or some such nonsense), we’ll be importing beef using devalued dollars.

I don’t know if we’re heading into hyper-inflation, but we certainly are heading into economic ruin. We’ll soon have a cumulative debt (*not* counting unfunded liabilities) equivalent to national GDP.

Raymond in DC on March 23, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    It appears that the purpose of Obama-care is to lower everyone’s standard of living thru higher taxes on EVERYBODY, not just the so-called rich, more rules and regulations, fewer jobs, no incentive 4 risk-takers, less responsibility, more slackers and moochers creating more and more unsustainable debt. How long do you think it will take until the treasury is bankrupt? Do the math…

    Who cares? on March 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm

You know how else the prices of burgers and other fast food will go up? The food police will make Clowngress raise taxes on these foods, with top level advisement from the First Beotch. In their reasoning, fast foods are as bad as cigarettes and alcohol, both of which are very heavily taxed.

Jarhead on March 23, 2010 at 3:05 pm

$30 band-aids on the way, too….

This new rat’s nest, er, I mean law,.. contains no cost control measures. It mandates that all individuals must purchase health insurance and establishes a sliding scale to dictate (a)what percentage of your income you can afford to spend on healthcare and (b)how much the government will subsidize you at your particular income level.
It does this without controlling or even referencing the actual cost of the insurance – leaving that to the market. This law assumes that more consumers will create more competition and drive down costs.
That’s ridiculous. You’ll still have to choose from the two or three insurance providers you choose from now – only now, you can’t threaten them with choosing NOT to buy from them.
Every person receiving a high percentage of subsidy will choose the more expensive provider – because they can. This will drive the price up, and KILL competition. People who receive no subsidy (myself included) will have to pick the most affordable plans, and pay more than we do now to subsidize the deadbeats.
It gets worse…. Now, I pay about $3000 a year for my insurance, with my employer paying another $4000. Under this law, they can get out of providing insurance at all by paying a $2000 fine for each employee they don’t cover. Clearly – they will choose the cheaper alternative.
This will leave me to find a (presumably) $7000 policy on my own – without the contribution my employer used to make on my behalf. The $2000 fine they pay will subsidize low wage earners, flooding the insurance market with more money and more customers. This always drives cost up. Demand increases price. Period.

But wait – there’s more… this is INSURANCE we’re talking about. Insurance companies stay in business by taking in more in premiums than they pay out in claims. Those who see this as new, and free, health care will use cause a surge in claims, without the typical control exercised by normal insurance buyers who control their claims to keep their costs down.

The insurance industry is doooooomed to fail and will need massive bailouts. Either that, or they will have to severly limit what they pay for, shifting the burden to the actual providers of the healthcare, who will raise prices, or lower services. Another industry in trouble, more bailouts required.

Steve on March 23, 2010 at 3:51 pm

$30 hamburgers? Well, I guess that since spinach and tofu are more healthy, there won’t be suits about these vegggies, and they would be cheaper, except for one thing —
Now that Obama will give amnesty to all the illegals, something that has happened already long ago on a de facto basis, the rate of disease from eating veggies will go up because the illegals will infest us with all their diseases.

Republican opposition? Curbing fraud and abuse, which will maybe save a couple of million dollars over three years? Curb lawsuits? Even if successful, this in no way strikes at the heart of Obamacare. It’s the Republicans way of really not opposing the bill, and just making the vote to pacify their base.

Little Al on March 23, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Spinach healty… Not to me I’m allergic … get the hives,

    Grandson allgeric to soy in any form…tofu, soy milk etc…

    I have come to believe that somewhere, there are people allgeric to the “healthest foods” and not allegeric to things like chocolate or dairy products, so I think that HEALTH food nazis are just plain nuts… peanuts probably.


    Sewsalot on March 23, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Wait,wait, wait!!!
Let me get this straight lawyers are going to rape the new health care plan and that’ the plan’s fault?!?! There maybe flaws in the plan, you may disagree with it completely, but just because lawyers are going to sue over every little thing isn’t really the plan’s fault. Lawyer will always find a way to sue.
Pete Bone

Pete Bone on March 23, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Hey! lawyers gotta’ eat too…


    Sewsalot on March 23, 2010 at 9:03 pm

article in NC had people calling this an early Christmas. They obviously missed the point that it doesn’t give till 2014 but does start to take sooner.

ender on March 23, 2010 at 9:19 pm

not only did they exempt themselves from this new nightmare, they exempted their own employees.

ender on March 23, 2010 at 10:53 pm

@ ender at 10:53 pm

Good post and link.

I have a suggestion on how to get the monstrosity that is the just passed health care bill repealed. Get the courts to rule that members of the US House, US Senate, and the President of the United States–and their employees–will have to have the same health care plan that the rest of us will have to have. If the US Supreme Court makes that ruling, they would repeal the just passed health care bill so fast, it will make our heads spin.

JeffE on March 23, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Steve, excellent points, except you forgot one. How many doctors are going to close up shop because they can’t practice the way they want? Or they can’t get paid the fees they rightly deserve. (Shoot, if someone is doing something to my body, and they went to school for so long, then they deserve what they are asking!) Then, we are supposedly adding 30,000,000 to the pool now by demanding they have insurance. We are NOT adding any new doctors. Can you explain to me how in the world we are ever going to get an appointment? We are going to be waiting weeks. A few years ago I had a kid with horrible eczema. I needed her to see the dermatologist. They are so hard to get an appointment with. This was in July. I called the one I use, and was told they could see her in October! (In the end, my friend got her into someone else quicker. When I asked why they are so hard to get into, she said, they do a lot of stuff for people who pay out of pocket. Therefore, they are very popular.)

Anyway, our quality of life is going to greatly decrease.

Oh yeah, don’t forget the taxes on medical devices, such as tampons and condoms.

Leah on March 24, 2010 at 2:11 am

Of course a lot of these medical products can still be ordered tax-free over the internet unless you have the misfortune to live in one of the few states (hopefully it will remain only a few states) that taxes internet sales.

Little Al on March 24, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Don’t bet on that Little Al. They ill ram that through soon too when revenues fall even more.

    Ken Blazek on March 24, 2010 at 10:49 am

Yes yes yes. I can’t wait for all this bar pep talk to materialize. Not.

rectonoverso on March 24, 2010 at 11:50 am

Pete, it is legislators’ responsibility to make sure that the laws don’t have severe unintended consequences. That is what they and their numerous aides and bureaucrats are paid for. Then again I am not sure if this is unintended consequence, as they all well know that if they want to limit the number and costs of malpractise suits etc, they would cap the amounts one could get from those. When they copied parts of legislation from European countries, they should have taken that part too – here the amounts one can get is tiny in comparison to what you can get in USA. Thousands or tens of thousands at most.

Niko on March 25, 2010 at 2:59 am


Do you think you can recommend a good defense attorney as I am doing everything I can to be the first person arrested over not buying health Insurance.
and unlike 99% of the people for commie care I am not asking for something for free as I can afford a lawyer
If you do let me know mfee2079(AT)gmail(dot)com

martin fee on March 25, 2010 at 6:41 am

More speculation and as usual incorrect speculattion at that. I wish I could find one speculation done by any conservative regarding HCR that became true.

As far as this post, what does hamburgers have to do with HC? And lets be realistic, hambugers are cheaper now in adjusted and in real, actual costs, than they were when I was a child 20 years ago. So what this post in stating is that in less that a few years the cost of hambugers will go up 2000 percent?. This despite medicare, medicade, multiply wars, cities like Detroit, Newartk, etc going through civil rights riots, multiple wars, multiple recessions,. at least three majory terriost attacks, etc…. happening during these 20 years. Please someone bet with me on this happening.

buckjohnson on March 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Buck –
    For a conservative speculation that WILL come true, see my earlier post regarding $30 band-aids.

    Steve on March 25, 2010 at 8:23 pm

The Right has to stick to hearsay of anecdotes (of $30 burgers) and FUD, because the facts are really working against you when it comes to health care.

Republicans knew that our health care system was broken to the point where reform almost could NOT fail. So, they chose opposition for political gain rather then cooperation to have a say, and work to a solution.

To attack Democrats on this issue after Medicare-D – the Prescription Drug program – passed under Bush and a Republican Congress….is almost ludicrous. That bill was unfunded, bloated from the start and the only protections it offered were to drug companies (to make sure prices can’t be negotiated….costing us, literally, 100’s of BILLIONS).

Mel on March 30, 2010 at 8:09 am

Oh for Pete’s sake!

Sameara on August 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Ms. Schlessel,
Please do some research before posting… anything.

Sameara on August 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

I have been buy hamburgers, with fries even, and last time I check we never reached $30 or even $20 burgers unless you go to high class restaurants. Hell I ate at Five Guys, an upscale store, and I paid around $7-8 for my bacon cheeseburger. So yeah you are an idiot as you tried to spew your hate and propaganda.

Random whitebguy on October 4, 2015 at 4:20 am

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