Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Medical Malpractice Bill About Partisan Politics, Not Public Policy

It appears conservative state legislators in Wisconsin are trying to cap non-economic (i.e., "pain and suffering") awards for medical malpractice suits again. According to the bill's co-author, Rep. Curt Gielow (R-Mequon): "Good public policy would suggest we have to have something that puts certainty back into the insurance market."

In reality, however, this bill has nothing to do with public policy and everything to do with partisan politics. It's about dredging up in an election year the non-issue that trial lawyers are supposedly at the forefront of running up the costs of health care in Wisconsin.

As I've noted before, this is just simply not the case--and the Wisconsin Supreme Court agrees.

Health care costs, however, are an issue that needs to be addressed at the state level, but the lead solution needs to come from the national level. And as I've noted here and here, the Bush administration's sole answer to the problem, pushing Heath Savings Accounts, is a failure waiting to happen.

SIDE-NOTE: For excellent discussions on the state of health care in the US and how it intersects with politics, check out "The Health Care Blog" by Matthew Holt. You can also subscribe to a free daily e-newsletter by FierceHealthcare that highlights health care news from around the country by visiting here.

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