Demand continues to grow for free health care clinics across Wisconsin, with many low-income families without insurance trying to reach out for help.
Despite an increased need for their help, state Representative Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) says it's becoming harder and harder to find doctors who can afford to volunteer their time. Kaufert says many have time to spare, but they can't afford to pay the increased malpractice insurance rates that result from them offering additional help.
Kaufert is offering legislation to help protect them from the added risk by making doctors who volunteer "agents of the state." The distinction would cover them under a malpractice insurance program already being used to cover retired doctors, who no longer have insurance, when they volunteer their time in a free clinic.
Kaufert admits the plan could open the state to lawsuits, but he says the risk is worth it when so many people are need of access to affordable health care. The Neenah Republican says doctors who want to help should be encouraged, not penalized.