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Friday, February 29, 2008

Nothing is Safe in Wisconsin

Source: A letter to the editor in the Inter-County Leader.

Fiscal foolishness
Few know the importance of Wisconsin's Patient Compensation Fund. Wisconsin Law requires that physicians, hospitals and some nurses contribute money into this fund to compensate patients when they are injured in the process of health care. There is no taxpayer money in it. It's an insurance fund that belongs to Wisconsin citizens. Because the state continues to spend more than taxes will allow, the governor this year took $200 million from this fund to balance his budget. And now the fund is in deficit and had to borrow money to meets its legal obligations for solvency.

State government, like citizens have to live within their means. You should know about two actions aiming to correct the problem: First, the Wisconsin Medical Society is suing the state to recover the lost funds. You can follow this on the society's Web site, http://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/.

Second, with bipartisan support, the Wisconsin Legislature has on its agenda a joint resolution to amend the Wisconsin Constitution to prevent future administrations from this kind of budget foolishness. Please contact your representatives in the Assembly and Senate and ask them to be sure that AJR 34 is passed this year. If two Legislatures pass this bill (each year for two years), then it goes to the citizens for approval in a referendum. If approved by the citizens, it becomes part of our state constitution and this kind of fiscal foolishness will be stopped.

Norman Jensen, M.D.
Professor, Emeritus, General Internal Medicine
Fellow, University of Wisconsin Teaching Academy
President-elect, American Academy on Communication in Healthcare Madison and Siren


Nothing is safe from some governors. Spend, spend, spend and when all of it is gone, rob an insurance fund. Put that into deficit.

Just how long will it take for the medical contributors to repay the loan? Then how long will it take to restore the fund to the $200 million? By the time that is accomplished, the $200 million will be devalued considerably. In the end this is another form of taxation through increased premiums. This is taxation without representation.

Why should it take a constitutional amendment to fix this thievery, when good old-fashioned honesty would?

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