C.A.R. Backs President’s Call in Speech for ‘Good Asbestos Reform’

January 9, 2006

The Coalition for Asbestos Reform (C.A.R.) commended President George W. Bush on Monday for his call to enact “good asbestos reform,” which Bush stated in his speech on the economy at the Chicago Hilton on Jan. 6, 2006.

C.A.R. has opposed S. 852, the Specter- Leahy trust fund, since the coalition was formed last spring and noted that the President did not link his support to this current piece of asbestos reform legislation.

“We commend the President for calling for ‘good asbestos reform,'” stated Thomas O’Brien, chairman of C.A.R. “To achieve that goal, we hope he will support medical criteria reform efforts that allow sick people to receive compensation, but protect businesses from abusive litigation. Several states have passed meaningful asbestos reform that sets forth strong but fair medical criteria to determine the truly sick, but cracks down on fraud and allows companies a fair chance to defend themselves. In fact, the strongest asbestos reform law comes from the President’s home state of Texas. Unfortunately, all of the states’ hard-fought ‘good asbestos reform’ would be wiped out by the passage of S. 852, and Texas Governor Perry has actually written the President to urge him to reject this measure.”

Rather than protecting defendant companies, the Specter-Leahy trust fund embodied in S. 852, as currently proposed, would reportedly cause many of these companies to shutter their doors, impose a new and devastating tax on hundreds of unsuspecting businesses, and set up a huge new bureaucracy in Washington.

Several recent studies have also reportedly demonstrated that the trust fund will run out of money much sooner than estimated, sending claimants back into the legal system where defendants will have been stripped of their insurance, and leaving many victims without the compensation they deserve.

“We join the President in calling for ‘good asbestos reform’ and hope that he recognizes that S. 852 does not fulfill that mandate,” O’Brien added.

C.A.R. is a group of smaller and medium sized businesses and their insurance companies committed to educating U.S. businesses and policymakers about what it says are the serious flaws in S.852.

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