Monday, November 19, 2007
Why Doctors do not trust the government to administer health care?
Exhibit A: Wisconsin Democrat governor, Jim Doyle, is trying to do an audacious end run around the intent of a state-administered trust fund meant to control medical malpractice costs.
In 1975, the Wisconsin legislature set up a fund for physicians, hospitals, and other health professionals to contribute to called the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund. It was essentially a self-insurance "buffer" against rising med-mal costs and has been widely credited with stabilizing Wisconsin malpractice insurance premiums.
The assets of this fund are substantial, in excess of $735 million in 2007 (covering an estimated $685 million in potential liabilities). Such a large "pot of gold" has proven irresistible for Democrats in Wisconsin, and Gov. Doyle has proposed pillaging nearly $200 million to cover budget deficits the state is running up on their Medicaid program. While it's noble to fund a state's uninsured & under-insured, raping a successful program whose mandate and charter is very specific to the med-mal relief program is going to lead to a bitter court fight in Wisconsin between the Wisconsin medical association and Gov. Doyle.
In 2003 a state law declared the trust "for the sole benefit of health care providers participating in the fund and proper claimants. Monies on the fund may not be used for any other purposes of the state". Keep in mind that individual doctors have essentially been paying into this pool at somewhere between $8-10,000 annually for nearly 30 years. So in a nutshell, this Democratic proposal would turn an insurance program into a massive retroactive tax hike on providers while potentially causing the whole program to go insolvent (as assets would drop ~ $150 million below liabilities).
Gov. Doyle, you're the proud recipient of the inaugural Plastic Surgery 101 cheesehead award!