Citizens of California had the opportunity this November to vote for Proposition 46, a proposed piece of legislature that would have enforced drug testing for doctors and lifted damage caps in medical malpractice cases. However, voters rejected the proposition, meaning malpractice reform in the state will have to wait.
Prop 46 led to an intense battle on both sides of the issues, with television and radio commercials for and against the proposal constantly battling against each other in front of viewers across the state. According to one leader of the “No” movement, Californians decided to vote against the proposal because they believed that larger payouts in medical malpractice lawsuits would have led to increased health care costs and less access to the medical care they need.
The campaign was the most expensive in state politics this year, and led to a vicious battle between doctors and insurance agencies throughout California. It would have been the first piece of legislature in the country requiring doctors to be subjected to random drug and alcohol tests. California was actually the first state to impose damage caps back in 1975, which inspired other states to create similar laws. It made medical rates in the state among the lowest in the nation, with doctors paying significantly lower premiums than in other states that do not have damage caps.
It is unlikely that this issue is going to completely disappear any time soon. A lot of research indicates that medical professionals abuse drugs and alcohol at the same rate of those people in the general public, and perhaps higher due to the easy access to prescription drugs. Expect more debate surrounding the issue of both damage caps and drug testing to continue throughout the state, even if it takes a while for those issues to get back on the ballot.
For more information about medical malpractice damage caps in California, speak with a San Diego injury attorney at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire today.