Florida's recent constitutional amendment referenda has really brought out the crazies....at least one anyway.
Amendment 3 limits the plaintiff's lawyers take in a med mal decision for the plaintiff by limiting the percentage of the award the lawyer can charge.
The president of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers (FATL-kind of an ironic acronym for trial lawyers? ) calls this price fixing. Well, duh. However, there are two kinds of price fixing: the illegal kind when corporate fat cats in pin stripes meet in smoke filled rooms to set prices and the legal kind when the state's fat cats in seersucker suits (cigars are optional) determine that some activity is affected by the public interest and then regulates the price. While I believe that market failures are not common and therefore there should be a strong presumption against price regulation, it is not like this type of state action is unique.
A second argument generated is that the amendment interferes with the right to freely contract for services. If this is the argument, then insurance prices should not be regulated, electricity, gas, water, and telephone service prices should not be regulated. Not to mention the minimum wage. Isn't Lochner and substantive due process dead? If not ... then let's party!
Finally, the FATL president suggests that the trial lawyers will attempt to get an amendment passed to limit the prices that doctors can charge to the those they charge to Medicaid patients. To me this is the "you took away my toy so I am going to break your sister's toy" approach to regulation. Thus, FATL will hurt innocent parties by making it impossible (or to further reduce the incentive) for physicians to treat Medicaid patients.