Do Not Be Fooled by the Trial Lawyers!
A couple of weeks ago, a November 2014 ballot measure was cleared for circulation that would make it easier for lawyers to file meritless lawsuits against healthcare providers and generate more legal fees for themselves. It is called the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act of 2014. If someone approaches you to sign this petition, don’t be fooled.
The proposed initiative changes California’s landmark Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) to quadruples the cap on speculative, non-economic damages. If it passes, trial lawyers will have a huge incentive to take on non-meritorious cases because they can reap more in legal fees. This will also make out of court settlements more appealing for medical providers, even when they’ve done nothing wrong.
The scariest part of this measure is the impact it will have on health care costs for state and local governments. The independent and non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has reported that this measure would potentially increase costs for state and local taxpayers by hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
MICRA has been in place for 38 years and has helped California create one of the most impressive healthcare systems in the world. Trial lawyers and their allies are funding this measure so they can make more money suing doctors, hospitals and health care providers.
As they say, timing is everything and the trial lawyers’ timing on this initiative is awful. California and its citizens are on the verge of a healthcare tsunami. Between the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and launch of Covered California, and the multiple other health care-related initiatives vying for a spot on the ballot, there are numerous ways that Californians’ health care costs may skyrocket.
The greed of trial lawyers knows no bounds. MICRA is good public policy that benefits us all. Someone once told me: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That seems like good advice here.