Support for Assembly Bill 29

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) appreciates the opportunity to provide input on Assembly Bill 29, which would allow juries in personal injury cases to see the billed amount and the actual amount paid by the medical provider for the plaintiff’s injuries.

WMC is the state’s largest business trade association, with over 3,500 members in the manufacturing, service, health care, retail, energy, banking and insurance sectors of our economy.  WMC is dedicated to making Wisconsin the most competitive state in the nation to do business, and toward that end, we support legislation encouraging a legal environment that provides fairness under the law and the application of reasonable and clear standards.  With those principles in mind, we respectfully request your support of Assembly Bill 29.

The amount billed in these personal injury cases is often significantly higher than the amount actually paid, leading to “phantom damages” being collected by the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney.

Under Assembly Bill 29, the jury would be allowed to see both the billed amount, as provided under current law, and the actual amount.  Allowing this evidence to be presented to the jury provides greater transparency and gives juries more information on which to issue a decision reimbursing the plaintiff for medical expenses.

Continuing to allow the awarding of phantom damages will result in higher premiums for those purchasing insurance coverage. While many states have adopted a stricter law only allowing the actual amounts paid to be considered by a jury, we believe this proposal strikes the right balance and gives juries enough to make an informed decision.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our support for Assembly Bill 29.