February 15, 2022
The California Medical Association (CMA) and its local county medical societies have joined together with hundreds of organizations in opposing the so-called Fairness for Injured Patients Act (FIPA) because it will devastate our health care delivery system, hurt community health centers and raise health care costs for ALL Californians.
For many years, California’s medical liability system has been protected by a bipartisan series of laws called MICRA (Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act), which has balanced the rights of injured patients while keeping health care more accessible and affordable for all patients.
FIPA will be on the ballot this November and, if passed, will effectively eliminate MICRA’s protections. Funded by a wealthy out-of-state trial attorney, this proposition would be a windfall for lawyers at the expense of California’s most vulnerable patients.
MICRA ensures that injured patients receive compensation while preserving access to health care by keeping providers in practice and hospitals and clinics open. Without MICRA’s protections, many of California’s neediest populations could face reduced access to these much-needed services.
This flawed initiative would:
- Eliminate the cap on both non-economic damages and attorneys’ fees. The initiative creates a new category of injuries that are not currently recognized under California law. This new, broadly defined category of malpractice lawsuits allows for unlimited attorneys’ fees and unlimited non-economic damages.
- Reward lawyers before patients. Current law allows for patients to be paid for future damages over time as their treatment and recovery continues. This measure requires all damages to be paid in a large lump sum and increases the risk that patients could run out of money before their recovery is complete. These lump-sum payments allow trial attorneys to collect more in fees.
- Result in more, not less frivolous lawsuits. Unlike other judicial transparency laws in California, this measure would expressly prohibit judges from independently verifying the truthfulness of statements made by trial attorneys in certain court filings known as “certificates of merit” and from disciplining them for dishonesty.
According to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, this flawed initiative will drive up health care costs for all Californians by tens of millions “to high hundreds of millions of dollars annually.” This initiative would obliterate existing safeguards for medical lawsuits — resulting in skyrocketing health care costs and huge windfalls for attorneys.
This is not the first attempt to alter MICRA, but it is the most damaging. Now, CMA and hundreds of other organizations are part of a growing coalition to defeat FIPA this November.
The future of MICRA is on the line. We know that through our collective efforts, we can defeat this dangerous measure and ensure continued access to care for millions of Californians.
We need your help to educate millions of Californians about the disastrous impact this initiative would have on our health care system. For more information on how you can help defeat FIPA, please visit protectmicra.org.