Anti-MICRA Initiative (Proposition 46) Qualifies for November Ballot - Nov 4

Anti-MICRA Initiative (Proposition 46) Qualifies for November Ballot - Nov 4
May 15, 2014 - Nov 04, 2014


On May 15, 2014 the trial lawyers Anit MICRA initiative qualified for the November ballot. The initiative is being marketed as drug testing for physicians and mandatory checking of CURES (Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System), as mandated by California Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). PDMP is the California Department of Justice’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) system which allows pre-registered users including licensed healthcare prescribers eligible to prescribe controlled substances, pharmacists authorized to dispense controlled substances, law enforcement, and regulatory boards to access timely patient controlled substance history information.

BUT make no mistake: this initiative is about rolling back MICRA by more than quadrupling the current non economic damages cap, with more increases for the foreseeable future.

In the mid-1970’s, healthcare providers were experiencing increases in professional liability insurance at the rate of 300% or greater. Additionally, numerous companies would no longer even write insurance policies in California. As a result of this crisis, the Legislature enacted MICRA (the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act). This law enacted a number of provisions relating to medical injury cases including limiting attorney fees, allowing for periodic payments and putting a cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages. There is no limit on economic damages (e.g. lost wages, healthcare costs). A ballot measure backed by trial lawyers has qualified for the November 2014 general election that would more than quadruple the cap on non-economic damages, raising it to approximately $1.1 million, plus annual increases for inflation going forward. The initiative also contains provisions regarding drug testing of physicians and places infeasible requirements on the state’s prescription drug database, which proponents have said were only included as the “ultimate sweetener” because they polled well. The main objective of the measure would make it more lucrative for trial lawyers to file lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, community clinics and other health care providers. The initiative will triple the legal fees lawyers can collect for bringing a lawsuit and increase healthcare costs by billions of dollars annually, seriously threatening patient access to care.

A broad coalition opposes the proposed ballot measure that would make it easier and more profitable for lawyers to sue doctors, clinics and hospitals. Unless defeated, the measure will be costly for consumers and taxpayers, and would reduce access to care for patients.

As a member of the coalition, CPMA is at the center of the fight to protect against skyrocketing malpractice insurance rates. The coalition has a great campaign team – some of the most experienced, well-known, and bi-partisan consultants in California – behind it, and will fight to defend MICRA and patient access to care.

CPMA has been working for years to support candidates for legislative office who understand the danger a MICRA roll-back would mean for patient care and physician practices across our state. Along with other coalition members, we have been so successful, that the trial lawyers have had to turn to the initiative process because anti-MICRA legislation has not survived vote after vote in the Capitol. Now, under the guise of physician drug testing, and mandatory CURES use, they’re trying to sneak a MICRA roll-back past California voters. Our coalition stands ready to defeat that effort.

What is MICRA and Why It’s Needed?

The California Legislature resolved the healthcare crisis in 1975 with passage of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). MICRA has worked successfully to hold down health care costs and has achieved stability in Californian’s medical liability system. One of MICRA’s key components is a $250,000 limit on noneconomic damages commonly called “pain and suffering” in malpractice lawsuits. Economic damages, such as lost wages or medical/dental expenses, have no limitation.

The California Podiatric Medical Association is a member of “Californians Allied for Patient Protection,” a broad-based coalition of health care professionals, consumer organizations, businesses, and insurers dedicated to the preservation of MICRA.

MICRA Assures Payment on Legitimate Losses

Without MICRAs strong limit on pain and suffering awards, malpractice insurance premium costs would skyrocket and some healthcare providers would be unable to afford it.

MICRA Has Kept Healthcare Costs Down

Raising the limit on non-economic damages would increase the cost of malpractice insurance, increasing healthcare costs for all Californians.

MICRA Maintains Access to Healthcare

An increase in malpractice premiums will affect the already tight budgets of community clinics and hospitals, resulting in a reduction of available care to those who need it most.

MICRA Removed Trial Lawyers Financial Incentive to Pursue Non-Meritorious Cases

MICRA’s cap discourages dollar-driven lawyers from playing to the sympathies of jurors to win runaway “pain and suffering” awards (a large percentage of which goes to the lawyer).

MICRA Contains More Than the $250,000 Cap

It also includes a limit on attorney fees by guaranteeing that injured patients receive the bulk of jury awards by limiting contingency fees for plaintiff attorneys to a sliding fee schedule, and provides that a jury can be informed whenever a plaintiff already received payment for economic losses from other “collateral sources” such as workers compensation, disability insurance, or health insurance.

Updated July 25, 2014

No On 46 Information Order Forms