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    Former Gov. Doyle Talks Health Care Politics at Health, Labor, and Employment Institute

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    Former Gov. Doyle Talks Health Care Politics at Health, Labor, and Employment Institute

    By org jforward wisbar Joe Forward, Legal Writer, State Bar of Wisconsin

    Gov. Doyle Former Gov. Doyle presents “The Politics Associated with Health Care Reform” at the Health, Labor and Employment Law Institute. Doyle is now practicing health care law at Foley & Lardner’s Madison office.

    Michael Bamberger and Daniel Kaplan Michael Bamberger (right), a health care lawyer in Milwaukee, and Madison labor and employment lawyer Daniel Kaplan teamed up to deliver an year-in-review update. Here, the two prepare for a post-presentation interview for the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    Karen Timberlake Karen Timberlake, recipient of the 2012 Health Law Attorney of the Year Award, talks about collaboration within Wisconsin’s health care system. Timberlake is the director of the Population Health Institute at the U.W. School of Medicine and Public Health.

    Aug. 24, 2012 – Should it be U.S. policy that all people have access to affordable health care or not? That’s the ongoing question, according to former Gov. Jim Doyle, featured speaker at the State Bar of Wisconsin PINNACLE’s Health, Labor, and Employment Law Institute, a two-day event that concluded today at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

    Doyle, who served two terms as Wisconsin’s governor and is now practicing health law in Foley & Lardner’s Madison office, was tapped by the State Bar to speak based on his health law expertise, which is nationally recognized, and his work with the White House.  

    He focused on the current health care debate in light of President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Car Act and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on it.

    The Harvard Law School graduate’s public appearance was a rare one since leaving office in 2011. “I just think a former governor should step aside and let new players take the stage,” he said. “That's why I haven't talked about a lot here. But I care a lot about health care.”

    Doyle says time will tell whether America comes to a consensus on the health care issue. “Fifty years from now, people will look back on this period in American history. I would like to believe they’ll say America made the right decisions. But it’s still a political story to be written,” he said.

    A Democrat, Doyle encourages governmental involvement. Because the Affordable Car Act passed – and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality in the landmark case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius – the country is moving in the direction of ensuring affordable health care for everyone, he says. But the question is not settled.

    “When it comes to health care, do you let the market take care of it, or should the government be involved in making sure people have access to affordable health care?” asked Doyle. “It’s still an open question.” Doyle’s State Bar presentation and post-interview remarks were featured in a television news story on WKOW and in an article by Wisconsin Public Radio.

    Health care, and Medicare and Medicaid in particular, will headline heated debates in the upcoming presidential election, he says. “Health care may be as big an issue in people’s minds as the economy,” said Doyle, who noted that unlike some states, Wisconsin (through BadgerCare) does not limit healthcare subsidies to the poorest individuals in the state.

    He says middle income families have a hard time finding health insurance on the market because the market doesn’t exist. “To me, this is the reality, there is no market,” Doyle said.  

    Doyle says health care programs and exchanges fill this insurance gap, and some lower-performing states don’t meet the standards now required by federal law.

    “It’s amazing to watch the politics of this,” he said. He said he hopes historians will look back and say Americans made the decision, after a lot of political turmoil, to give people access to affordable health care without bankrupting the family.

    WisconsinEye has Doyle's full presentation from the State Bar PINNACLE's Health, Labor, and Employment Law Institute.

    Doyle also recognized Karen Timberlake, recipient of the 2012 Health Law Attorney of the Year Award, presented by the State Bar’s Health Law Section. Timberlake, and her accomplishments, are featured in an article in the Aug. 15 issue of WisBar InsideTrack.

    Other Programs at the Labor & Employment Law Institute

    While former Gov. Doyle headlined the event, other presenters dove deep into recent developments and must-know information in the health, labor, and employment law areas.

    Attorneys Michael Bamberger and Dan Kaplan opened the Institute with an update of health care, labor, and employment legislation and cases over the past 18 months.

    “I would like to emphasize that labor and employment law in Wisconsin is a very dynamic area, and lawyers should stay up-to-date on the court decisions and legislation that occurs on a regular basis,” said Kaplan, a labor and employment lawyer at Foley & Lardner in Madison.

    Kaplan talked about several cases, including one that expands retaliation claims. Those claims are on the rise, he says. Also, Kaplan advised lawyers to keep an eye on pending legislation, such as the Password Protection Act, which would give greater protection to employees.

    In his presentation, Oyvind Wistrom, who practices management-side labor and employment law at Lindner & Marsack, focused on handling cases before the state’s Equal Rights Division and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including different procedures.

    “I think it’s very important for lawyers to understand that there are very distinct differences in some of the laws that enforced,” he said. For instance, even though state and federal laws prohibit discrimination against disabled individuals, state law is broader than the federal law.

    Nathan Eisenberg and Ronald Pfiefer, both labor and employment lawyers, shared their insights about the National Labor Relations Board and recent developments.

    “The National Labor Relations Board, for some time, has been regarded as an agency that wasn’t doing a lot of interesting things and suddenly, in the last couple years, it has become an agency in action,” said Pfiefer. “There are some significant changes under way.”

    Labor and employment lawyers Jina Jonen and Judith Williams-Killackey tackled social media, and gave tips on how to deal with it from the employee and employer perspectives.

    “The really exciting thing about social media is that there’s no typical issue that comes up,” said Williams-Killacky, who counsels unions when an employee is accused of misconduct. Sometimes, that involves questionable Facebook or Twitter posts.

    On the health law side, Adam Tutaj delved into the HIPPA and the HITECH Act, the federal rules on privacy and security of protected health information. “This is an ever-changing field,” said Tutaj, who covered breach notifications and civil monetary penalties in detail.

    Other topics included medical staff privileges, health care regulation, and physician employment, among others. The State Bar will highlight several of these presenters, and their topics, in upcoming video interviews in WisBar InsideTrack, an online publication.

    In addition, State Bar PINNACLE captured many presentations from the Health, Labor, and Employment Institute, which will be available via webcast for CLE credit in upcoming months. All those who attended the Institute can view any presentations at no additional cost.

    • Check out the State Bar’s Facebook page for interviews and photos, and other coverage of the 2012 Health, Labor, and Employment Institute.