An editorial to restore Wisconsin’s malpractice caps:

At stake is whether Wisconsin will remain a place where patients have good access to doctors, or whether Wisconsin will become a state that doctors flee to escape high malpractice insurance costs.

The risk is real. A 2004 survey in Illinois, by Northern Illinois University, found that 44 percent of respondents living in the southern part of that state had lost access to their doctor because the doctor left practice or moved out of state to escape high malpractice insurance costs.

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  • Anonymous

    If caps had been instituted in, say, the last 5 years in Wisconsin, how much would insurers have saved?

  • DBR

    Oh, for crying out loud….caps WERE instituted in Wisconsin, TEN YEARS AGO.

    They were UN-instituted this past year when Supreme Court Justice Diane Sykes got promoted to the Federal Appeals Court and Wisconsin’s governor appointed Louis B. Butler, Jr. to replace her.

    That appointment changed the political makeup of the court and opened the door for reversal of a cap which had withstood several constitutional challenges during Justice Sykes’ term. That a new challenge occured SO soon after Justice Butler was installed by the governor suggests to ME at least that the challenge was politically motivated and VERY well orchestrated….

    Wisconsin’s ten year old cap had
    placed it in the enviable position of being one of only SIX STATES in the nation which wasn’t experiencing skyrocketing medical liability premiums, loss of commercial professional liability insurers, and loss of medical professionals. In fact, Wisconsin was one of the places that doctors from states with BIG liability problems were flocking….

    Since reversal of the cap, which had been considered “constitutional” for almost ten years, a Wisconsin jury awarded $8.4 million in a single case, of which $4,250,082 was non-economic damages….

    Wisconsin physicians can expect their premiums to start going up in light of verdicts like that one…and Wisconsin’s patients can expect to find it harder and harder to find the medical care they need….maybe not today, but sometime soon….

  • Anonymous

    You’re right Donna. No one deserves $4.25 million for, as this woman now is doing, being connected to a tube in their stomach because their acid reflux surgery was botched resulting in her stomach and intestines no longer functioning normally. Not only does she get to be connected to a tube 12 hours a day, but she gets to go to the hospital once a month to empty her stomach!

    Clearly, that’s an outrage! Besides, she’s 33, so her best years are behind her. We need caps to eliminate frivolous cases like these! After all, the insurers insinuated they might, if you’re nice, reduce premiums 10% so Donna’s husband and other physicians can afford to feed their family – not through a tube, though.

    Donna, what do you think that injury is worth in terms of pain and suffering? Was this just another runaway jury?

    But you don’t have to believe Donna, nor should you. You can listen to, for example the director of the fund that covers Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance discussing the excess fund Wisconsin has that kicks in at $1 million:

    “The medical malpractice fund assets have been growing by leaps and bounds. In the 30 years of fund existence, the medical malpractice fund has grown to $750 million, exceeding, by far, the total compensation that has been paid to injured patients during the 30 years of medical malpractice fund’s existence. The Commissioner ofInsurance, Jorge Gomez, testified that, “Wisconsin, … probably has the most sound and functional malpractice environment in the country. … Wisconsin is by far in a much better position than any other state that has a non-problem at the moment with their [medical] malpractice environments. … and Wisconsin will not be [in a state in crisis] any time in the future, regardless of what your committee or the legislature decides on the issues of caps. … The reality is that the [medical malpractice] marketplace is competitive, the [medical malpractice] fund is solvent, and we’ll likely make adjustments based on the court’s decision on assessment in the future.”

    In fact, the state’s largest insurer said that the worst day for Wisconsin physicians would be single digit caps.

  • Anonymous

    $8.4 million? Just another lottery winner if you ask me.

  • Anonymous

    “In fact, the state’s largest insurer said that the worst day for Wisconsin physicians would be single digit caps.”

    Correction, the state’s largest insurer said that even if caps were removed, the worst day for Wisconsin physicians would be single digit increases.

  • Anonymous

    The worst day for the state’s lawyer sodomites was when the Piggly WIggly’s in Wisconain replaced the hard concrete in the Frozen Food Aisle with No-Slip floors. Suddenly the sale of Banana Peels went up 100%

  • Anonymous

    Seriously, is that the best you can come up with? Why even post if that’s the case?

  • Anonymous

    To the person who placed the following comment:
    $8.4 million? Just another lottery winner if you ask me.

    Do you want to experience what this woman and her family are going through so you can have this lottery ticket?