Trial lawyers' money grab threatens to overturn MICRA

May 06, 2013

California’s trial attorneys last week launched an all-out assault on California's historic tort reform law, which since 1975 has helped keep malpractice premiums in-check and ensured that California’s patients have access to affordable health care.

On Wednesday, May 2, 2013, a coalition—including the Consumer Attorneys of California and the trial lawyer-funded Consumer Watchdog group—announced intentions to seek to overturn California's landmark Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) through a ballot initiative. The group has until September to submit a proposed initiative to qualify for the November 2014 general election ballot.

If successful, the trial attorney’s efforts will cause malpractice rates to skyrocket, and recreate the same conditions that threatened to throw California’s health care system into crisis during the early 1970s. Prior to MICRA, out-of-control medical liability costs were forcing community clinics, health centers, physicians and other health care providers out of practice.

California’s MICRA has been a national success story with broad public support and has safeguarded both patients and our health care delivery system for decades. Risky reforms like the ones being threatened by the trial lawyers would severely impede our state’s ability to provide health care to the poorest and most vulnerable patients. At a time when we are trying to implement federal health care reform and provide access to health care to all Californians, this is the worst possible overreach at the worst possible time.

"The threat of a ballot measure is nothing more than a money grab by trial lawyers," says CMA President Paul R. Phinney, M.D. "And one that that will come at the expense of higher health costs for all patients and decreased access for patients and clinics already struggling to keep their doors open. We cannot and will not let that happen."

Physicians will be victorious in this fight, but in order to do so, we need your help.

DONATE: A fight of this magnitude will be extremely costly. The California Medical Association (CMA) is urging all physicians to consider a donation to CMA's political action committee (CALPAC), which for the last 38 years has served as the first line of defense for California’s historic physician protections. DONATE TODAY

JOIN: And if you are not already a member of CMA, please consider joining today. By joining CMA, you will help to ensure that the voice of California physicians is heard loud and clear in the Capitol and beyond. Together, our unified voice can move mountains. JOIN TODAY

SPEAK OUT: Sign up to be a CMA Key Contact. As a Key Contact, we will provide you with all the tools you need to quickly and effectively deliver your message to legislators, from talking points to sample letters. CMA has some of the best lobbyists, lawyers and other advocates in the Capitol, but the most powerful weapon in advancing the cause of physicians and their patients is you. Hearing from a physician with experience from the frontlines of medicine can make all the difference for a legislator facing a complicated health care issue such as MICRA. SIGN UP TODAY


For more information on MICRA, and what you can do to help in the fight, visit www.cmadocs.org/micra.



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