Thursday, March 23, 2006

Medical Malpractice Bill Becomes Law

Governor Doyle decided yesterday to sign the bill capping pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases in Wisconsin. There was some speculation as to whether Doyle would in fact sign the bill, after vetoing a similar measure this past December.

The difference with this bill is that the cap is set at $750,000, as opposed to $450,000 for adults and $550,000 for children in the December bill.

I do think this move is in Doyle's best political interest, but I also think it's a bad move for Wisconsin. I've discussed why before (here, here, and here) , so I won't get into it much in this post.

I'll just note that I think the cap will do little if anything for physician insurance premiums in the state, while it will significantly harm Wisconsinites who are seriously injured as a result of a medical procedure gone bad.

Not to mention it fundamentally takes the decision of granting pain and suffering awards out of the hands of the people who serve on our juries. I happen to think a jury of peers is a better place for that power than a one-size-fits-all statute.

Two of the three legal experts Doyle consulted about the bill seem to think it'll stand up before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. I'm not so sure (although I'm no legal expert).

2 Comments:

Blogger Sven said...

Gah. And there's the fact that throwing a nice, juicy steak in the "tort reform" crazies' shark tank will only leave them craving more.

I think Hunter Thompson had it right: Normal human beings are too sensitive for politics.

March 23, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Good point, Sven.

I would like to say that Doyle should fight this one, and perhaps he should, but with the bill passing by veto-proof majorities in both the Assembly and the Senate, it's probably all the same having him just sign it.

Besides, I really don't think it's going to get upheld by the WI Supreme Court. The basis of the decision last summer was that the cap at the time was arbitrary--I don't see how this one is any different in that regard.

March 23, 2006  

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