Malpractice; A complex issue, but 'yes' to caps

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sunday, October 30, 2005

State Rep. Curt Gielow (R-Mequon) says trying to reach what he believed was an equitable compromise on a new medical malpractice cap was like King Solomon trying to settle the dispute between the two mothers and the baby. That's probably not much of an exaggeration.
Even though the Assembly last week passed the bill Gielow was instrumental in drafting by a convincing 64-30 vote, the issue is still thorny. Both sides make sound arguments.
We continue to believe that there is room for a reasonable cap in medical malpractice awards for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. What's more, there is an arguable need for such a cap to protect health care providers from questionable lawsuits and possible unreasonable jury awards that might drive up medical malpractice premiums and thus affect the supply of physicians.
The bill that passed last week and now heads for the Senate appears to achieve that middle ground. Is it ideal? No. Might it need to be revised later depending on the circumstances? Yes. But you could say those things about almost any piece of legislation.

The real problem, according to the Wisconsin Academy of Trial Lawyers and other opponents, is that doctors are being victimized by insurance companies overcharging them for malpractice premiums when the experience in Wisconsin and states show there is no basis for those high premiums, an argument bolstered by a study recently commissioned by theCenter for Justice & Democracy.

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D

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