| December 3, 2005
The Wisconsin governor vetoes a bill to reinstate malpractice caps.
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“Doyle said he recently sought the opinion of constitutional law experts at the University of Wisconsin Law School regarding the constitutionality of the proposed legislation. He said their conclusions were that the bill does not address the constitutional problems of the previous caps and concludes that the caps completely lack a rational basis.”
The Supreme Court also ruled, in a 4-3 vote, that the cap is “unreasonable and arbitrary” because there is no “rational” relationship between it and lower medical malpractice premiums. It also violates equal protection provisions in the Wisconsin Constitution, the court ruled.
What this particular article DOESN’T say, however, is that the reason the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the cap after 10 years on the books wasn’t because they suddenly discovered that it was “unreasonable and arbitrary” – it was purely political.
The composition of the Wisconsin Supreme Court had stood firm with four liability reform supporters (i.e., Republicans) holding back attempts to get rid of the cap over the three liability reform opponents (i.e., Democrats) for 10 years. Then, this year, something changed…
One of the Republican members left the court, leaving Democrat. Governor Doyle to appoint a replacement justice. Naturally, he appointed a fellow Democrat to the seat, and the moment the composition of the court changed, the cap was doomed. Shortly thereafter, the new Democrat-controlled Court declared the ten year old cap unconstitutional.
Incidentally, due to the successful application of the 10 year old cap. Wisconsin was one of the six states which the AMA designates as having no medical liability issues, and was also the state where MANY of the high-risk specialists who decided to leave Pennsylvania when their own premiums got too high headed…
SO, please, no high-sounding pseudo-literate arguments about how the Wisconsin Supreme Court finally did the “right thing” in declaring the cap unconstitutional – the Court was acting in the political interests of the party which opposes liability reform and receives 72% of the political contributions lawyers and law firms have given away in the last ten years….DBR
Wow, when you put it in partisan political terms, I completely lose all respect for you. Talk about your ad hominems.
“Wow, when you put it in partisan political terms, I completely lose all respect for you. Talk about your ad hominems.”
I’m not DBR. But that statement of yours, Elliot, is an example of ad hominem. Just analyze it and you will realize that you yourself committed that fallacy.
Oddly, no one has any quotes from any insurers stating how much they’ll lower their rates if they get a cap and for how long. Isn’t that the point?
I wonder if it’s because it won’t change anything in Wisconsin. Surely not.
No, it wasn’t an ad hominem nor would it be an ad hominem to call someone an idiot because they don’t know the meaning of a term when they are trying to engage someone in debate.
Ms. Rovito wasn’t being partisan about the Democratic Party – she was just pointing out the facts. Who is it in the Senate who, despite being the minority, has held up action on the federal tort reform bill? Democrats – all of them along with Arlen Spector (but then his son is the leading malpractice attroney in Philadelphia).
In New Jersey, while a bipartisan effort helped get caps through the state Senate, the Assembly Democrats blocked (with the exception of one member, a physician, who was allowed to break the caucus vote) paasage of the bill.
This isn’t being partisan, Elliott. This is a statement of the facts, whether you like them or not. And before you damn me as a Republican, I happen to be an independent who can’t stand what either party is doing to my profession.
There is nothing even slightly conservative about most “tort reform” legislation. They are true “government knows best” proposals.
Today’s Republican party isn’t about being conservative. It’s about business.
Ismd, Ms. Rovito wasn’t pointing out the facts. She was lobbying. Anyone who thinks PA’s problems can be solved with caps is ignoring the facts, or at best selectively mining them. That’s what lobbyists do.
“Ismd, Ms. Rovito wasn’t pointing out the facts. She was lobbying.”
I wouldn’t call that lobbying. If you think that’s what her post represents, then you and Elliott are guilty of lobbying as well.
I was talking about her original claims that led to her controversy in PA, wherein she admitted she didn’t take the time to verify all of the claims of doctors leaving PA. The rest of her previous post contained few facts but a lot of conclusions. And that is lobbying.
But, my mistake, I just realized that she is the DBR in this thread. However, even there she is doing nothing more than lobbying, in that she calls Wisconsin’s caps successful just because the AMA doesn’t have them on their “crisis” list. Considering the standard for being on the crisis list appears to have nothing to do with insurance rates, but rather whether the state has caps, that means little.
Her statement that “MANY” physicians who left PA went to Wisconsin also appears to be unsupported since the word “many” can mean anything and she cites to no authority. Nor does the implication that caps kept Wisconsin premiums lower have any basis in fact. Wisconsin also didn’t lose two of its largest insurers to those companies’ financial mismanagement, a fact caps wouldn’t have changed.
Now, her claims that it is political may well be true. But for that to be the case, she needs to point us to where the Wisc. Supreme Court even took up the issue prior to this most recent decision. If they had not previously had the opportunity, then that claim lacks merit as well.
Again Ms. Rovito has lots of conclusions, but very few facts. If you ever have a question about one of my conclusions, or I do not back it up with facts, let me know and I will be glad to.
If you’d like, you can read the Wisconsin case at the link below. I warn you, it’s 75 pages, but the part germane to this discussion starts at about page 45.
Interestingly, I believe the decision damages Ms. Rovito’s claim of politics being the issue as well, since the court notes it upheld the cap on wrongful death med mal claims.
Some other highlights:
“The Fund [Wisconsin Patients Compensation fund – essentially excess coverage for big verdicts] has flourished both with and without a cap. If the amount of the cap did not impact the Fund’s fiscal stability and cash flow in any appreciable manner when no caps existed or when a $1,000,000 cap existed, then the rational basis standard requires more to justify the $350,000 cap as rationally related to the Fund’s fiscal condition.”
In addition, the court found that, of every $100 spent on health care in Wisconsin, less than $1 can be traced to malpractice-related costs, and determined, “the correlation between caps on noneconomic damages and the reduction of medical malpractice premiums or overall health care costs is at best indirect, weak, and remote.”
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