California legislature passes MICRA modernization legislation

May 17, 2022
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy 

Assembly Bill 35 passed its final hurdle in the legislature on May 12, when it passed unanimously out of the California State Assembly. The bill, jointly authored by Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Reyes and Senator Tom Umberg, will implement the historic agreement reached by Californians Allied for Patient Protection (CAPP) and the Consumer Attorneys of California to modernize the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).

“The Assembly’s passage of AB 35 is an immense achievement that will usher in a new era of stability around malpractice liability in California for decades to come,” said California Medical Association (CMA) President Robert E. Wailes, M.D. “This legislation will ensure that MICRA’s essential guardrails remain solidly in place for patients and providers and ensure that our health care delivery system remains accessible and affordable for Californians, while providing fair compensation to injured patients.”

The bill is currently on the Governor’s desk for his signature.

Over the years, California’s physician and provider communities have repeatedly defended MICRA through expensive battles at the ballot, in the courtroom and in the legislature. This year, with the so-called Fairness for Injured Patients Act (FIPA) slated for the November 2022 ballot, we were again facing another costly initiative battle that could have obliterated existing safeguards against out-of-control medical lawsuits and resulted in skyrocketing health care costs. As part of the MICRA modernization agreement, the initiative will be withdrawn from the ballot.

“AB 35 is a prudent and patient-focused agreement that provides long-term predictability and affordability of medical liability insurance and protects existing safeguards against skyrocketing health care costs,” said Dr. Wailes. “It will make it possible for physicians and patients to have a full and open conversation after an unforeseen outcome, leading to greater accountability, patient safety and trust.”

CMA is proud to have been part of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to achieve a meaningful consensus that ensures our state’s most vulnerable patients will have continued access to safe, affordable health care.

For more information, see cmadocs.org/micra2022.


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