A Dane County judge has okayed state use of $200 million from Wisconsin’s medical malpractice fund.
The Wisconsin Medical Society filed suit in October 2007 following enactment of legislation that took the $200 million from the Fund to help balance the state budget . The decision by Judge Michael Nowakowski — that the society has not shown it has a property interest in the fund, and that the state has immunity from such claims — leaves the Society pondering its next move.”The fund was not created as a piggy bank for the state; it is funded by medical professionals for patients and families when unfortunate circumstances occur,” said Society President, Doctor Steven Bergin. “Justice has not been served.”
The state Department of Justice argued that politicians have the authority to move money from one fund to another as they see fit. Department of Administration Secretary Michael Morgan said the Doyle administration is very pleased with Nowakowski’s decision. The transfer to balance the budget accounted for about a quarter of the fund’s total assets.
The Fund was created in 1975 to minimize the effects insurance costs caused by lawsuits might have on health care costs and quality. Wisconsin physicians, hospitals and other health care professionals are required to pay into the Fund annually. There are no taxpayer dollars in the Fund.