CONGRESS, STILL UNNECESSARILY receptive to the heavy pressure coming from the trial lawyer's lobby, has yet to enact a no-fault insurance bill. But support does appear to be growing for the measure, which would eliminate fat fees to lawyers in favor of swift compensation to accident victims. That is why the bill now enjoys endorsements from a broad coalition of consumers, business associations, insurance companies, older people, medical and rehabilitation professionals and groups concerned about the financial health of the auto industry.
In the Senate, where a bill has been reported for floor consideration, supporters apparently are waiting to see what the House does. What could have killed the bill in the Seenate committee - and what should be avoided in the House committee's consideration - was an effort to "improve" the bill to death. A series of crippling amendments in the name of "reform" were attempted in the Senate committee and, fortunately, rejected. They should be resisted not only in the House, but also on the Senate floor, if they are revived.
While the idea of some massive overhaul of the nation's entire insurance system may seem appealing to some, this is neither the time nor the bill for it. The no-fault measure happens to be an excellent, carefully drafted proposal to provide minimum standards for state programs. Based on years of studies and restudies, the bill would leave it to each state to enact its own no-fault program. The purpose is to imporve coverage - to provide better insurance protection for each premium dollar and to deliver it to victims more equitably and sooner. That's something that shouldn't be put off any longer. Prompt approval by the House committee is the necessary next step.