No on 46 campaign gains momentum, allies

The ballot measure that would quadruple the cap on non-economic damages under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) has been assigned a number, Proposition 46, for the upcoming November election, while the campaign against it is gaining more powerful allies.

Free No on 46 campaign materials available here. 

CDA and an expanding coalition of health care organizations and others are working to defeat Prop. 46 because it would have devastating effects on California’s health care system, increasing costs by billions of dollars annually.

The “No on 46” campaign has hundreds of organizations behind it, which now include the California Teachers Association, the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and the California NAACP, in addition to health care organizations, public safety and labor unions, business groups, community health clinics and hospitals.

 “Momentum for the ‘No on 46’ campaign is growing, and now more groups are working to educate the public on why this initiative would raise health care costs and negatively impact access to care,” said CDA President James Stephens, DDS.           

Trial lawyers are behind Prop. 46, which quadruples the cap set by MICRA for noneconomic damages from $250,000 to $1.1 million, which in turn would increase meritless lawsuits filed by attorneys.

Titled “The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act,” Prop. 46 contains additional provisions regarding drug testing of doctors and places infeasible requirements on the state’s prescription drug database, which could force providers to choose between denying needed prescription medication to legitimately suffering patients or violating the law. Proponents have said these provisions were only included in the measure because they polled well with the public.

Currently, MICRA ensures injured patients receive fair compensation, while stabilizing liability costs. A medical malpractice insurance crisis in the 1970’s led to MICRA’s passage, and since then, health care providers, including dentists, have been protected from extreme liability exposure and skyrocketing premiums by its various provisions. Under MICRA, patients receive unlimited compensation for all economic damages or out-of-pocket costs. Wages, medical costs and punitive damages are all paid on an unlimited basis and these payments are going up at more than twice the rate of inflation.

“Members who were practicing before MICRA’s passage experienced the impact of  skyrocketing premiums and know how important MICRA has been to stabilize costs,” Stephens said.

In fact, TDIC, The Dentists Insurance Company, was born out of the time period when dentists and other health care providers were at the mercy of increasing annual premiums, which were rising from 100 to 400 percent due to litigation of claims and huge monetary settlements.

The No on 46 campaign has a website for providers to request free campaign materials for distribution in offices or among colleagues. Visit NoOn46.com to sign up to receive posters, brochures or buttons that will be mailed to you.

Updated on: 08/04/14