Letter to the Editor: Vote ‘no’ on Prop 46
October 24, 2014
I enjoy reading Jim Porter's column in the Sierra Sun, and agree with most of his election recommendations, but I disagree with his recommendations on Proposition 46.
He has taken the usual attorney opinion of touting protection for plaintiffs, when the real motivation is to increase income to themselves. MICRA (Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act) passed in 1975 has been instrumental in keeping malpractice insurance premiums for physicians in California lower and affordable.
It only limits pain and suffering awards to plaintiffs. It does not limit compensation for negligence or malpractice. However, what it does limit is the amount of money that attorneys get when they sue doctors. MICRA has been effective in limiting nuisance lawsuits by attorneys.
Proposition 46 is another attempt (and there have been many since 1975) by the Trial Lawyers Association to eliminate this cap on pain & suffering awards. This time they have tried to bury it behind the headline of drug testing physicians. I am sure the TLA has no interest in screening physicians for drug use (are they tested?) — they simply want to increase their fees for winning a malpractice case.
Practicing in a small rural community such as Truckee/North Tahoe is a financial challenge for all physicians. We do not earn what doctors earn in big cities. If this proposition is passed, malpractice insurance premiums would definitely increase for physicians in California.
If they get to the level of states like Florida, practice in a small community would become unaffordable. A likely outcome would be local physicians having to close their practices and leave the area, leaving our community without adequate medical care.
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Do not let the trial lawyers line their pockets at the expense of availability of good quality medical care in our area. Vote NO on Proposition 46.
Steven Thompson, MD