January 24, 2014
As both sides inch closer to a seemingly inevitable ballot war over California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), a key figure in the legislature may be looking to step in before voters can weigh in on the issue.
Earlier this month, Darrell Steinberg, president pro tem of the Senate, said that he was “thinking” about carrying a MICRA-related bill during the 2014 cycle. While Steinberg has previously stated that he wanted to see negotiations take place to avoid a costly ballot war between trial lawyers and physicians, the fact that he would be interested in personally carrying a bill is significant.
The legislature’s renewed attention toward MICRA comes after Consumer Watchdog, a trial attorney backed group that has made its public mission to scuttle MICRA, submitted ballot language that would put the issue before voters in November 2014. Among the provisions of Consumer Watchdog’s proposal is a nearly five-fold increase of MICRA’s cap on noneconomic damages.
As of now, there has been no MICRA bill introduced by Steinberg or any other member of the legislature. CMA’s lobbying team, however, has already mobilized to strengthen the resolve of our legislative allies. If a bill is introduced we will intensify that mobilization.
For more information on CMA’s fight to defend MICRA, or to contribute to the ongoing defense effort, please visit MICRA resource center.