In just a few short weeks, we will be heading to our respective polling places and casting our ballots in the 2014 election. We have many choices to make, especially in our local Newport Beach City Council race and Measure Y.
However, there are other issues on the ballot, including one we should all be able to make with ease: voting NO on Proposition 46.
If passed, Proposition 46 would more than quadruple the cap on non-economic damages in California’s landmark Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, known as MICRA. That would make it easier and more profitable to file medical lawsuits against doctors and hospitals – and raise health care costs for all of us.
The independent Legislative Analyst’s Office predicted that Proposition 46 would raise costs for state and local governments by up to “several hundred million dollars annually.”
Another analysis, looking at increased costs across the whole economy, estimated that health care costs in California will increase by $9.9 billion a year—about $1,000 per year for a family of four.
It is not surprising that groups like the Orange County Medical Association and the Southern California chapter of the American College of Surgeons have joined with dentists and hospitals to fight Prop 46.
What may surprise you is that they’re also joined by the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, ACLU of Southern California, SEIU, the CalChamber, and hundreds of other groups. The California Republican Party and even the Libertarian Party of California and the LA County Democrats agree that Prop 46 is a bad idea.
So why are we even being asked to vote on such a costly, ill-conceived measure?
It’s simple: the trial lawyers, the same ones behind abusive ADA and Prop 65 lawsuits, are trying to find another way to rig our civil justice system in search of profits.That’s why more than 97 percent of funding for Proposition 46 has come from trial lawyers and their allies.
As a retired doctor and supporter of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse CACALA, I have seen this game played before. We have been on the front lines in the battle against this group of lawyers for years and we are appalled with their unabashed attempts to make our civil justice system serve their financial interests.
Prop 46 will create more incentives for lawsuit abuse and specifically benefits trial lawyers — more lawsuits for more money with trial lawyers getting a higher percentage of the legal jackpot take — at an enormous cost to the rest of us.
This cynical attempt to rig the justice system shows how much contempt these attorneys have for the rest of society.
I encourage you to vote NO on this nasty little pill titled Prop 46.
Dr. Michael Arnold Glueck of Newport Beach has written extensively on medical-legal and related issues.