Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Immunize Yourself from GOP Spin on Malpractice!

Republicans in the state legislature are doing their best to protect big insurance companies again. Once again they are trying to limit the awards that victims of malpractice are allowed to collect. The cap that they had imposed in 1995 was struck down by the state Supreme Court as unconstitutional last July. Here are a few points to remember as they begin the spin cycle on this issue:

  1. This has nothing to do with frivolous lawsuits. People being awarded in these cases have had their day in court and have WON THEIR CASE!
  2. Please don’t claim that the caps will keep medical costs lower. We’ve had your caps for 10 years and Wisconsinites pay some of the most inflated medical costs in the country.
  3. Since the state Supreme Court struck down the original caps, there has not been the predicted flood of frivolous lawsuits.
  4. It is rare for a Wisconsin jury to actually award over $1 million for non-economic damages.
  5. There is more than enough money in the Patient’s Compensation fund to cover any of the few awards that do go over $1 million.

If an imposition of caps on these awards were part of a balanced approach, I think that we could have a meaningful discussion. For example, why don’t we hold some of the insurance companies accountable for gouging doctors? Why not make that a part of an overall package? If Republicans continue to only focus on caps as being the singular solution, then we will all know their true motivations. They only care to score political points and protect their big insurance contributors.

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