September 05, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Licensing & Regulatory Issues MICRA
On August 30, the trial attorneys re-filed their proposed anti-MICRA ballot initiative with the Attorney General’s Office, a political maneuver that will buy them more time as they attempt to navigate around the organized opposition to the proposal. The revised initiative was filed only hours before the start of the long Labor Day weekend, an obvious attempt at keeping their proposal off the public’s radar as best they could.
Despite the revisions, the central focus of this proposed initiative remains to be to more than quadruple California's current $250,000 cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases and create a cash windfall for the trial attorneys who calculate their fees based upon the size of the total jury award.
If the trial lawyers are successful at undermining our state's landmark professional liability reforms (the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, also known as MICRA), it would cause malpractice insurance rates for physicians to skyrocket, force the closure of safety net clinics and recreate the same conditions that threatened to throw California’s health care system into crisis during the early 1970s.
It’s unknown whether this will be the final revision to the trial attorneys' ballot initiative proposal before they begin collecting signatures to put it on the November 2014 ballot. State law allows for as many re-filings as the backers see fit.
Regardless of what the trial attorneys do next, the California Medical Association and its many coalition allies are working tirelessly to defend MICRA and to ensure that your ability to practice medicine is not threatened by this misguided effort.
For more information about MICRA and what you can do to help in the fight, visit the MICRA resource center.