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Author: Worksalot Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 75379  
Subject: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/17/2006 11:53 PM
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It appears to me that most of you guys are, well, guys. You proabaly are single or have wives who work and/or contribute to your lives otherwise. I am a single mom, like lots of other single moms, raising two daughters. I put myself through vet school 31 years ago and today own my own clinic. I'll be paying back the bank for 20 more years. Nowdays, single women who work also do the shopping, cooking, childcare, cleaning, the yard, the pets, the cars, home repairs, retirement planning, investments,and worry about healthcare. Small business owners are not allowed to deduct their own healthcare. I work 60 to 80 hours a week and with arthritis, struggle with 100 pound retrievers all day long. I provide my employees 100% of their healthcare, offer retirement accounts, flex accounts, continuing education and disability insurance but I am not allowed to have many of those benefits. I was able to get an HSA Blue Cross plan last year at great expense. At 56 years old, they could cancel me at any time for any reason. I will never be able to retire unless healthcare becomes reasonably affordable. I pray everyday that I will not get sick or disabled. Incidently, I have a handicapped child to support.
I'm not asking for sympathy, just the realization that not everyone has choices like you are discussing. I'm lucky to have a great education.
Congress needs to develop a workable healthcare system for those of us not employed by the federal governement. Many, many people are desperate for just basic healthcare coverage. I get very annoyed when I hear congress spending hours talking about whether they should outlaw flag burning. Let's get to some serious issues that affect real people.
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Author: gubydala One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53219 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 12:56 AM
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> Many, many people are desperate for just basic healthcare coverage. I
> get very annoyed when I hear congress spending hours talking about
> whether they should outlaw flag burning. Let's get to some serious
> issues that affect real people.

I'll second that. I'm also a single woman in her 50s who has had some health problems. But I don't have kids and I'm lucky enough to work in a field where I can get reasonable group health coverage. A few years back I went through a couple of major surgeries and spent 9 months in a wheelchair or on crutches over a 2-year period. With my boss's support I was able to "phone in" my job during most of my recovery and my parents were willing to help with care while I recovered. Otherwise I would have been bankrupt.

You're just annoyed with our government? I'm furious. And not just over flag burning.



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Author: vtjon One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53220 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 9:47 AM
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I put myself through vet school 31 years ago and today own my own clinic. I'll be paying back the bank for 20 more years.

I feel for you, and agree that small business owners do get the shaft for a variety of reasons.

You mention that you will be paying down notes for twenty more years. Do you have any equity in the practice? Is that something that can be sold when you actually retire? What about taking on a partner in the practice--selling off your share over time?

I really do feel for you, but I think you may need to reevalutate your situation. Could you go work at an animal hospital instead? Are you able to meet your obligations while still putting some funds away for the future? As hard as it may be, leaving your practice may be the only thing that will allow you to retire one day. Especially given that you're business won't be in the clear until you are 76 years old and have some serious financial responsibilities.

I know how hard it can be to leave something that you've built from the ground up. Especially given that you seem to take good care of your employees and I'd imagine your patients as well. I used to work for a small business owner who just went through this. She built a business for 35 years and wanted to pass it on to her children. Unfortunately, she came to realize that it didn't make sense to hold onto it. Fortunately she had some equity in her business, and a lifetime of skills to take with her to her next career.

Unfortunately, Congress won't get around to helping you. There's much more political steam in debating flag burning vs. tax credits for small businesses. You're going to have to evaluate your finances and find a solution for yourself. As I'm sure you know as a single mom, relying on someone else often just leads you to disappointment.

-VTJon

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Author: JLC Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53221 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 10:06 AM
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I provide my employees 100% of their health care, offer retirement accounts, flex accounts, continuing education and disability insurance but I am not allowed to have many of those benefits.

You might want to talk to a CPA or change CPAs. I'm self-employed as well. I have a self-funded pension plan to which I can contribute up to $42k/year. I can do continuing education that is paid via my company with pre-tax dollars, I could do disability through the company but I don't. If the company paid for it, I would have to pay taxes on the benefits. But since I pay for it, benefits are tax free.

JLC

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Author: ptheland Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53230 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 11:39 AM
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As a preface, I am also a self-employed professional. I have a practice with a couple of employees. I know the problems you face, as I face them as well. Shoot, I even have a son with cerebral palsy. So I know where you are coming from.

However, you've got some serious errors in what you've said. My practice is in accounting - I'm a CPA. So not only do I know where you are from a business perspective, I know the tax laws as well.

Now, to a few specifics.

Small business owners are not allowed to deduct their own healthcare.

That is just wrong. You may deduct 100% of your health insurance. The balance of your personal medical expenses are at least itemized deductions. And if your practice is organized as a C corporation, you can deduct your other medical expenses in the corporation as well. To do that, however, you need to provide a plan to pay for your employees' co-pays and deductibles as well. That may or may not be a worthwhile trade-off - you'd have to run some numbers to make that decision.

I ... offer retirement accounts, flex accounts, continuing education and disability insurance but I am not allowed to have many of those benefits.

Again, that is just wrong. The main barrier to the business owner deducting most of these benefits is that you also have to provide them to your employees. If you're already providing them to your employees, you can deduct them for yourself as well. Your continuing education is deductible no matter what you do for your employees in that regard. I don't recommend deducting the disability insurance. Doing that causes any benefits to be taxable. If you pay for that insurance personally, any benefits you collect are tax-free.

I was able to get an HSA Blue Cross plan last year at great expense. At 56 years old, they could cancel me at any time for any reason.

I checked quickly and see that the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) offers a wide array of insurance products to their members. I didn't look at the details, but I'd guess their health insurance is reasonably affordable, as it's probably a group plan for all of the vets that choose to participate. And you also likely can't be singled out for cancellation. Plans available through associations like this tend to be reasonably good plans. At a minimum, I'd look into it. Your state association might also have insurance plans available to you.

I will never be able to retire unless healthcare becomes reasonably affordable.

At a bare minimum, you'll qualify for Medicare in another 10 years or so. It is very affordable, can't be cancelled, and at least provides a saftey net level of coverage. It isn't the greatest thing, but it's better than nothing.

I'm not asking for sympathy, just the realization that not everyone has choices like you are discussing.

Agreed. Sometimes folks here are happily discussing how to plan for retirement when they live well below some very significant means. That really makes things easy.

But that doesn't mean you have to roll over and give up. You take whatever means you have available to you, and find a way to tuck some of that away for retirement. Let's take a look at your situation, even without any numbers.

You have a professional license. That is a good leg up. You can always work for someone somewhere with that license.

You have your own business. That gives you almost unlimited potential. What you do with that opportunity is up to you. As a small business owner myself, I find that the hardest thing to do is let my employees do thing that I know I can do better or faster. But it's vital that I let go and let them do it. I only have a limited number of hours available. 24 per day. If I spend those doing the work, I've limited my income. But if my employees are doing the work and I concentrate on monitoring their work and bringing in new business, I can do as much work as I can find employees to do it for me. And lest you think I've mastered that, I most certainly have not. My business is not yet thriving. I haven't taken any money out of the business for 2 months.

On the business front, it is also an asset that you can have available to you. You mentioned that you're paying back a loan you needed to buy the practice. In the same way, you can also sell your practice down the road and have a bit shot in the arm of cash. Yes, some of it will be needed to pay off the remaining loan. But the rest will be yours (after Uncle Sam takes his cut). So you are building a valuable asset with your practice. And to make that practice more valuable, you need to have staff in place that does most of the work for you. That way a new owner can step in and take over with minimal disruption to the practice.

Congress needs to develop a workable healthcare system for those of us not employed by the federal governement.

If you want to talk politics - what Congress needs to do is fix our tort laws. If you think your insurance is bad, talk to your doctor colleagues who work on people. Their malpractice insurance will make your head spin. I've seen premiums of $100k or $200k PER YEAR. How'd you like to have that nut behind your business? And why is that so expensive? Because we've got lawyers coming out of our ears who will sue anyone for anything at the drop of a hat. It's become a lawsuit lottery out there. And malpractice insurers aren't making it easier on us. They just roll over and settle pretty much all but the most friviolous claims. Its cheaper than fighting the claim and running the risk of losing. We need a cap on pain and suffering damages so that insurers are willing to go to court and try cases on their merits instead of just settling. And we need a significant penalty against those who bring friviolous lawsuits - both the plaintiffs AND their attorneys. If the attorney is going to share in the benefits of the suit - and they always do in these cases - they should also bear the risks of being determined friviolous.

Of course, this isn't going to happen any time soon. Almost every member of Congress is an attorney. And the ABA has some significant clout in Congress. A return to the citizen-legislator of the 1800's might help. Someone who was willing to put their real career on hold for a couple of years while they served in Congress. Ok - so a guy can dream, can't he?

--Peter

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Author: ResNullius Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53231 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 12:15 PM
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I'm not asking for sympathy, just the realization that not everyone has choices like you are discussing.

With all due repect to your situation, I think that virtually everyone has most if not all of the choices that are discussed on this Board. Think about choices, because they start when you first start making choices as a young adult.

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Author: Watty56 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53232 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 12:35 PM
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It appears to me that most of you guys are, well, guys. You proabaly are single or have wives who work and/or contribute to your lives otherwise.

Look on the bright side; us guys are statistically likely die earlier. :)

Seriously though, for all us guys that, "have wives who work and/or contribute to your lives otherwise." There is a gal that has a hubby doing the same for her. The advantage of investing as a couple is really gender neutral.

Greg


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Author: JAFO31 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53233 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 1:04 PM
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"If you want to talk politics - what Congress needs to do is fix our tort laws. If you think your insurance is bad, talk to your doctor colleagues who work on people. Their malpractice insurance will make your head spin. I've seen premiums of $100k or $200k PER YEAR. How'd you like to have that nut behind your business? And why is that so expensive? Because we've got lawyers coming out of our ears who will sue anyone for anything at the drop of a hat. It's become a lawsuit lottery out there. And malpractice insurers aren't making it easier on us. They just roll over and settle pretty much all but the most friviolous claims. Its cheaper than fighting the claim and running the risk of losing."

Most of the cases are decided by jury. Why is no part of the rant directed at juries?

"We need a cap on pain and suffering damages so that insurers are willing to go to court and try cases on their merits instead of just settling."

Texas implemented one, and from what I understand insuracne costs have ot declined.

<>"And we need a significant penalty against those who bring friviolous lawsuits - both the plaintiffs AND their attorneys. If the attorney is going to share in the benefits of the suit - and they always do in these cases - they should also bear the risks of being determined friviolous."

The federal courts and a nuber of states do so.

http://www.aepronet.org/pn/vol6-no2.html

"The truth is that judge's already have the authority”—under "Rule 11"—to throw out a frivolous lawsuit and sanction the attorney before the case even gets started. It's time to fight myths with facts."

From the trial lwyers themselves.
http://www.atla.org/pressroom/facts/frivolous/index.aspx

See also:
http://www.snopes.com/legal/lawsuits.asp

Regards, JAFO
(not a trial lawyer)






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Author: ziggy29 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53234 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 1:10 PM
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>> Most of the cases are decided by jury. Why is no part of the rant directed at juries? <<

Juries aren't sufficiently trained and grounded in legal principles, IMO, and are too easily swayed by emotion. Let's face it, if a parent lost a kid through some really stupid thing the kid did with a product (and there was lack of oversight from said parents), and the plaintiff's lawyer was able to portray it as a case between a grieving parent who just lost their child against a nameless, faceless huge corporation which won't miss $10 million, which way do you think a jury is likely to go emotionally?

I don't particularly blame the juries for this. They arent generally trained in the ins-and-outs of civil litigation.

I for one would like to see paid professional juries in civil cases, which have some basic training in law and legal principles. Such juries would be more likely to judge based on fact and law than on emotion, I think.

#29

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Author: ptheland Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53235 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 1:42 PM
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Most of the cases are decided by jury. Why is no part of the rant directed at juries?

Because jurors are simply following the instructions given them by --- wait for it --- attornies. The plaintiff and defendant are both represented by attornies. The judge is an attorney. They are the ones instructing the jury. If huge pain and suffering awards come out of the jury box, it's because the judge and attornies instructed them that it is OK to do so.

"The truth is that judge's already have the authority”—under "Rule 11"—to throw out a frivolous lawsuit and sanction the attorney before the case even gets started. It's time to fight myths with facts."

OK. But for the judge to sanction an attorney you've got to get it in front of the judge. How many cases are filed, then settled before even getting on a court docket? Yes, they're smaller cases, but they can nickel and dime insurers to death. Or, more correctly, they increase the cost of claims which just get passed on in the form of higher insurance premiums.

And one thing I don't know is how frivilous your suit needs to be before Rule 11 kicks in. I'm sure there is the truly frivilous stuff out there. And those are probably being stopped by fear of Rule 11. But what about the grayer issues - ones that may or may not be frivilous, but probably aren't worth a big settlement? They are probably better described as nuisance suits rather than frivilous.

With the unknown risks of going to trial and getting a huge judgement, an insurer might be happy to settle a case for a few thousands of dollars that actually has a pretty good chance of being ruled in favor of the defendant. But when you toss in a 1% or 2% probability of a multi-million judgement, plus the certain costs of defending the case in court, you end up settling a lot of marginal claims for more than they are probably worth. Finally, toss in a bit of the insurer's duty to defend and the risk of being sued by their insured, and you've got a recipe for exactly the mess we are in.

--Peter

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Author: JAFO31 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53236 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 2:00 PM
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ptheland:

<<<<Most of the cases are decided by jury. Why is no part of the rant directed at juries?>>>>

"Because jurors are simply following the instructions given them by --- wait for it --- attornies. The plaintiff and defendant are both represented by attornies. The judge is an attorney. They are the ones instructing the jury. If huge pain and suffering awards come out of the jury box, it's because the judge and attornies instructed them that it is OK to do so."

The judges are instructing the juries to find for the plaintiffs?

You are getting a little over the top here.

<<<"The truth is that judge's already have the authority”—under "Rule 11"—to throw out a frivolous lawsuit and sanction the attorney before the case even gets started. It's time to fight myths with facts.">>>

"OK. But for the judge to sanction an attorney you've got to get it in front of the judge. How many cases are filed, then settled before even getting on a court docket? Yes, they're smaller cases, but they can nickel and dime insurers to death. Or, more correctly, they increase the cost of claims which just get passed on in the form of higher insurance premiums."

Once the case has been filed, you are liable to sanction by the judge.

"And one thing I don't know is how frivilous your suit needs to be before Rule 11 kicks in. I'm sure there is the truly frivilous stuff out there. And those are probably being stopped by fear of Rule 11. But what about the grayer issues - ones that may or may not be frivilous, but probably aren't worth a big settlement? They are probably better described as nuisance suits rather than frivilous."

That would be a different topic. And if it is really gray, then it is probably not frivilous almost as a tautology.

"With the unknown risks of going to trial and getting a huge judgement, an insurer might be happy to settle a case for a few thousands of dollars that actually has a pretty good chance of being ruled in favor of the defendant. But when you toss in a 1% or 2% probability of a multi-million judgement, plus the certain costs of defending the case in court, you end up settling a lot of marginal claims for more than they are probably worth. Finally, toss in a bit of the insurer's duty to defend and the risk of being sued by their insured, and you've got a recipe for exactly the mess we are in."

This does not address that Texas insurance has not declined even though you dream rules have been implemented for nearly a decade now.

Regards, JAFO




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Author: TerryMcK Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53237 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 2:39 PM
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I just happened to be in our local Optical outlet yesterday where I've known the owners for years. Their business model has changed in recent years from what used to be time spent on sales & service of 90% and 10% to paper work.....to now they spend 40% on paperwork and 60% on sales & servce. This is due to insurance and government regulations. This also impacts their bottom line. So you can imagine a number of scenarios that people like this face in order to keep the bottom line up.



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Author: ptheland Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53238 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 2:40 PM
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The judges are instructing the juries to find for the plaintiffs?

You are getting a little over the top here.


No. That's not what I'm saying at all. I have enough faith in the legal system that we aren't having those kinds of problems. No one is telling the juries to find specifically for the plaintiffs or the defendants.

But the jury instructions are leaving open the possibility of large awards to the plaintiff IF the jury finds for the plaintiff in the first place.

Let's face it, plaintiff's attornies are pretty good at painting the plaintiff as the poor soul putting their faith and trust in the defendant's professional skills. And painting the defendant as the bad, rich guy trying to take advantage of this poor trusting soul. Complicate that by the fact that its easier for the jury to put themselves in the plaintiff's position than the defendant's.

The joke about a jury being made up of people too dumb to get out of jury service is not only funny, it's got a ring of truth to it.

I think the juries are pretty good at finding out the truth based on the evidence they are given. I have no complaints with the jury system deciding the facts of the case. Where it falls down is in determining damages in civil cases.

re: friviolous cases
That [nuisance suits] would be a different topic. And if it is really gray, then it is probably not frivilous almost as a tautology.

I agree. That was probably a poor choice of wording on my part at the beginning. Although it probably reflects the layman's understanding of the term "frivilous." I'd hazard a guess that most people would consider nuisance suits to be frivilous, even though that is probably not the technically correct definition of frivilous.

At any rate, my concern is really over the nuisance suits seeking to pat down insurers for a small settlement, not the truly frivilous stuff that has no merit whatsoever.

This does not address that Texas insurance has not declined even though you dream rules have been implemented for nearly a decade now.

OK. Let's look at that one.

So the semi-independent republic of Texas (big grin there) has imposed some caps on damages. The problem is that this is only one state. Large compaines and insurers operate in all 50. (Except for the weird insurance issues in New York.) The front line insurers can probably rate based on location. So at first this looks like a good deal for Texas. But most front line insurers are going to buy reinsurance for big claims. And that reinsurance is going to be priced based on the whole portfolio of insurance - all 50 (or 49) states. Since these big claims are most likely going to be covered by the reinsurance, the cost of that reinsurance isn't significantly affected by the award caps in Texas. There's 49 other states who can still have large awards.

So it makes sense to me that there haven't been significant reductions in insurance costs. The problem needs a nationwide solution, not just one state. I think if there was a move among most of the states to adopt limits on awards similar to those in Texas, then we would start to see some change in premiums.

--Peter

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Author: ziggy29 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53239 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 2:54 PM
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>> This does not address that Texas insurance has not declined even though you dream rules have been implemented for nearly a decade now. <<

IMO this is mostly because of a lax, rubber-stamp regulatory environment than anything. Yet, tort reform can help deal with some problems with rising insurance rates, but unless the insurers willingly pass the savings to customers, it doesn't matter.

#29

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Author: aj485 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53240 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 2:58 PM
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So the semi-independent republic of Texas (big grin there) has imposed some caps on damages. The problem is that this is only one state. Large compaines and insurers operate in all 50. (Except for the weird insurance issues in New York.) The front line insurers can probably rate based on location. So at first this looks like a good deal for Texas. But most front line insurers are going to buy reinsurance for big claims. And that reinsurance is going to be priced based on the whole portfolio of insurance - all 50 (or 49) states. Since these big claims are most likely going to be covered by the reinsurance, the cost of that reinsurance isn't significantly affected by the award caps in Texas. There's 49 other states who can still have large awards.

So it makes sense to me that there haven't been significant reductions in insurance costs. The problem needs a nationwide solution, not just one state. I think if there was a move among most of the states to adopt limits on awards similar to those in Texas, then we would start to see some change in premiums.


Actually, a lot of states have implemented caps on awards, including California, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Massachusetts, Michigan and Illinois, to name some of the larger ones. There is a map on page 2 of this document that shows the states that have/haven't enacted caps and the level of the caps: http://www.rwjf.org/publications/synthesis/reports_and_briefs/pdf/no10_policybrief.pdf


So, this probably covers close to 50% of the population, if not 50% - I would have thought we would see some cost decrease by now if it were going to happen.

AJ

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Author: ptheland Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53241 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 3:31 PM
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So, this probably covers close to 50% of the population, if not 50% - I would have thought we would see some cost decrease by now if it were going to happen.

Interesting.

Perhaps then, there is a different problem that needs to be addressed. It would be interesting to see what the total of large awards are as compared to the total damage payouts by insurers. Of course, defining "large" would be an issue. Perhaps we need to look at the non-economic damanges in states without caps. How much of the total damage payout is damages in excess of some proposed cap? If it's a pretty small percentage, then implementing a cap won't have a significant affect on insurance premiums.

It might also reflect a shift from non-economic damages to economic damages.

When a plaintiff is truly injured, they aren't necessarily interested in how the settlement is broken down. They probably care more about the total. Before there were caps on non-economic damages, no one really cared how the damages were broken down. With the caps, plaintiffs now have an incentive to find every economic damage they can.

And we also need to look at the nuisance end of claims. If it would cost your insurer $20k to mount a vigorous defense of a marginal claim, and the plaintiff comes along and offers to settle for half of that, you can bet that the insurer will take the settlement vs. pressing on with a defense. It's the right economic decision when looking at one claim at a time. But looking at a bigger picture, if mounting one $20k defense will keep you from having to mount similar defenses in the future, then it might make sense to go ahead with that defense. I'm not sure how well insurance companies are able to make that kind of decision. And, of course, there is the problem of each case being pretty unique, especially in the medical malpractice area.

--Peter

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Author: ResNullius Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53242 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 3:41 PM
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So, this probably covers close to 50% of the population, if not 50% - I would have thought we would see some cost decrease by now if it were going to happen.

Not hardly. First, only a few of the states with caps apply the caps to anything other than medical malpractice or punitive damages. Second, many of the states with caps have loopholes large enough to drive a herd of elephants through. Third, in many of the states with caps, the plaintiff's attorneys file suit in other states that in turn refuse to apply the caps as a matter of public policy. In short, the current situation with tort reform in America is that there is virtually no real tort reform, with the possible exception of some headway being made with medical malpractice.



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Author: SooozFool Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53243 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 5:19 PM
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>>The joke about a jury being made up of people too dumb to get out of jury service is not only funny, it's got a ring of truth to it.<<

There's the rub. Those who feel they're too important to sit on a jury, or to devote much time and energy to deliberation, are an even bigger problem than those dismissed as "too dumb." Add to that the unrealistic tv-driven expectations people have about the quality and quantity of available evidence, the desire to have someone come up with *the* magic forensic answer instead of making hard calls about hard issues, and the interesting dynamics of any group of randomly-thrown-together people (ref: "Twelve Angry Men"), and you can get some wacked results even apart from the factors you've mentioned.

I sometimes wonder if juries would behave better, worse, or simply differently if they could be monitored (knowingly) on closed-circuit tv while deliberating. I'm sure it give the lawyers apoplexy. A field trip to a sausage factory might be less distressing.

SooozFool

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Author: JLC Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53244 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 9:26 PM
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Louisiana is different in more ways than I care to note. However, occasionally we sometimes do the right thing.

And malpractice insurers aren't making it easier on us. They just roll over and settle pretty much all but the most friviolous claims. Its cheaper than fighting the claim and running the risk of losing."

Long story, but in the 80s, Louisiana physicians formed their own insurance company (all others pulled out of the state). One premise was that they would leave it up to the physician as to settle or fight.

We also have what is called a medical review panel. Defense picks a person (from the litigated specialty) and the plaintiff picks one and the two pick a third. They review the merits and decide if malpractice has occured. This does not prevent the case from going to trial if either party choses, but hit has cut down on the numbers.

"We need a cap on pain and suffering damages so that insurers are willing to go to court and try cases on their merits instead of just settling."

Texas implemented one, and from what I understand insuracne costs have ot declined.


We were also the first state, IIRC, to implement a cap on pain and suffering (P&S). Around $250k. But not continued required medical care. Initially are premiums kept going up, but after being implemented for about 10 years, it has roughing kept pace with inflation.

As an aside, the trial lawyers every year try and get this cap either repealed or increased. Why? Because they can only collect their 1/3 from P&S, not continued care.

JLC, who has been the subject of three suits in 11 years of practice. All dismissed.



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Author: JLC Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53245 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/18/2006 9:33 PM
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So, this probably covers close to 50% of the population, if not 50% - I would have thought we would see some cost decrease by now if it were going to happen.

Interesting.

Perhaps then, there is a different problem that needs to be addressed.


Its called "class action status". Get your case labeled as such, and the you can jury shop all around the country for the most favorable venue. Even if over 1/2 the population were under some cap, won't matter as long as you can have your trial in the most sympathetic place that awards 8 & 9 figure settlements.

JLC

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Author: grevinnan One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53248 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/20/2006 11:58 AM
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Dear Worksalot

I emphasize with your struggles. I hope you have had an opportunity to read the very few responses that actually applied to your post. ptheland gave a lot of information and please check it all out. If your CPA has overlooked any of the issues please get another professional to assist with your finances. A good CPA should be on top of all relevant tax issues and not let a client miss out on deducations or other tax breaks.

Perhaps the discussions about malpractice insurances and related issues should have its own thread.

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Author: RetiredVermonter Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53272 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/22/2006 5:57 AM
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#29:

I for one would like to see paid professional juries in civil cases, which have some basic training in law and legal principles. Such juries would be more likely to judge based on fact and law than on emotion, I think.

We agree!!! Juries of people with some knowledge and training would be ideal, instead of always whoever will serve! Too often, I fear, many people work to escape jury duty, leaving only... what?

I've been horrified sometimes to read of some of the settlements issued by "a jury of our peers", as highlighted by one special in particular about Mississippi, where judgments against pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies had been so extreme that some companies were no longer willing to deliver drugs there! (The "peers" were just hoping they'd get THEIR turn one day to get rich!)

Vermonter

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Author: FCorelli Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53274 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/22/2006 11:53 AM
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Now, would these very professional juries be Government officials like the DMV or the Post Office? Or would they be private enterrpises like Halliburton and Walmart. Would they be paid enough to attract really smart, interested, civic minded people? Or would they be obtained for the lowest "market rate"? (You get what you pay for) Would they be paid a lot like the "professional class" they are? Or would they be paid too much and thus be lazy and perfunctory like civil servants or Teamsters? These matters go far deeper than economics and a mere technnical slapping of the system.

Nobody's entitled to a jury of their peers, just a jury selected from the place the "crime" was committed. Just like nobody is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That concept is little more than a jury instruction as to how to weigh evidence. In fact you are presumed guilty first. That's why the poh-leece come for you and why you are on trial. They are assuming you "did it". (And if you get exonerated would that be because you are not gulty? Or because of stupid unprofessional "dull-blade" juries...? Or a jury that got paid and saw it ony as a way or making money? Wow what a cool job! Or got paid too little and attracted a "bad crowd"? Like the DMV and Teamsters)



#29:

I for one would like to see paid professional juries in civil cases, which have some basic training in law and legal principles. Such juries would be more likely to judge based on fact and law than on emotion, I think.

We agree!!! Juries of people with some knowledge and training would be ideal, instead of always whoever will serve! Too often, I fear, many people work to escape jury duty, leaving only... what?

I've been horrified sometimes to read of some of the settlements issued by "a jury of our peers", as highlighted by one special in particular about Mississippi, where judgments against pharmacists and pharmaceutical companies had been so extreme that some companies were no longer willing to deliver drugs there! (The "peers" were just hoping they'd get THEIR turn one day to get rich!)

Vermonter


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Author: JAFO31 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53280 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/22/2006 3:47 PM
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RetiredVermonter:

#29: <<<<I for one would like to see paid professional juries in civil cases, which have some basic training in law and legal principles. Such juries would be more likely to judge based on fact and law than on emotion, I think.>>>>

"We agree!!! Juries of people with some knowledge and training would be ideal, instead of always whoever will serve!"

We already have that option. It is called a becnh trial.

And if separate "paid professional juries" were put into place, the furor over the requisite pay would be huge.

Regards, JAFO


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Author: ziggy29 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53281 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 8/22/2006 3:56 PM
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>> And if separate "paid professional juries" were put into place, the furor over the requisite pay would be huge. <<

True. Especially if it created another public employees' union.

#29

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Author: vickifool Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 53481 of 75379
Subject: Re: t.Retirement won't happen for me Date: 9/2/2006 5:39 PM
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It appears to me that most of you guys are, well, guys. You proabaly are single or have wives who work and/or contribute to your lives otherwise. I am a single mom, like lots of other single moms, raising two daughters. I put myself through vet school 31 years ago and today own my own clinic. .... Small business owners are not allowed to deduct their own healthcare. I work 60 to 80 hours a week and with arthritis, struggle with 100 pound retrievers all day long. I provide my employees 100% of their healthcare, offer retirement accounts, flex accounts, continuing education and disability insurance but I am not allowed to have many of those benefits.

My dentist says they changed the laws--now she can deduct health insurance. Before that, her husband worked for her and she was only covered as his spouse! I think he started as her receptionist.

And I know you can have a retirement account as a small business owner. They have special ones just for small businesses. SIMPLE and SEP-IRA.

Find a competent accountant who knows about this sort of thing.

Vickifool

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