In an unprecedented move, a bill was introduced to the Wisconsin State Senate and Assembly to benefit drunk drivers at the expense of Wisconsin workers with health insuruance.
The bills, 2013 SB 22 and AB 29, seek to overturn an over 100 year old Wisconsin law known as the Collateral Source Rule. The Collateral Source Rule requires those who injure another, whether through an auto accident, drunk driving, texting while driving, failing to move to the left for a police officer, etc., to pay the full cost of the injured person's medical bills. The Collateral Source Rule has been in effect in Wisconsin for over 100 years and has been upheld by every sitting Wisconsin Supreme Court justice.
A handful of Wisconsin Legislatures (Representatives Jacque, Bies, Craig, Czaja, Kestell, Kuglitsch, Larson, Murphy, Sanfelippo, Spiros, Thiesfeldt, Weatherston, Ripp and Marklein; cosponsored by Senators Farrow and Grothmam) want to overturn this law to allow those who injure another to argue that they are not responsible for the full cost of the injured person's medical bills, but rather only the amount paid by the injured person's health insurance.
Here is how the current law works and the proposed change. John Doe works on the assembly line at a local company. Through his employer, John pays tens of thousands of dollars over the years for health insurance. John leaves work to head home. Jack Smith is drunk and texting while driving and blows a red light injuring John. John incurs $10,000 in medical bills. John sends the bills to his health insurance company and, because of the health insurance premiums John has paid over the years, John's health insurance pays $7,000. Under the current law, Jack and his insurance company are responsible for the full amount of John's medical bills ($10,000) without regard to what John's health insurance paid. The reason for this, a reason cited for over 100 years by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, is that Jack does not get to benefit from John's foresight in buying health insurance. Under the proposed bill, Jack and his insurance company would get to argue that John is not entitled to the full amount billed by the health care providers ($10,000) but rather is entitled to only what John's health insurance company paid ($7,000). Under this proposed law, Jack reaps the benefit of John working to pay for health insurance.
In summary, the new law penalizes workers such as John and benefits drunk drivers such as Jack. If you disagree with this proposed bill, call or write your State legislature to say no to 2013 SB 22 and 2013 AB 29.