A ballot measure being pushed by wealthy out-of-state trial attorneys is heading to the November 2022 ballot that would substantially raise healthcare costs for all Californians, reduce access, and exploit patients for profit.
The so-called “Fairness for Injured Patients Act” is the latest trial lawyer-funded statewide ballot measure scheme to end California’s long-standing liability reform law—the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA).
This measure will limit patient access to care, vastly increase the number of lawsuits filed in California, and further divert resources for patient care to the legal system. It would effectively eliminate the cap on noneconomic damages for medical malpractice awards and hold physicians and others personally liable to pay medical malpractice awards.
If it passes, the measure will have a chilling effect on the healthcare profession and have a trickle-down effect that would be born primarily by low-income patients, who would face higher costs and restricted access to care.
California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) ensures injured patients receive fair compensation while preserving access to healthcare by keeping doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers in practice and hospitals and clinics open.
Without MICRA’s protections, many of California’s neediest populations could face reduced access to much-needed services. California voters definitively rejected an attempt to quadruple MICRA’s non-economic damages cap in 2014. According to California’s former Legislative Analyst, increasing the MICRA cap would raise health care costs by $11.4 billion annually, or more than $1,100 for a family of four.
Today, MICRA serves as a national model, saving California’s healthcare system billions of dollars each year and increasing patients’ access to healthcare by keeping doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers in practice and hospitals and clinics open.
MICRA is especially critical in protecting access to specialty and high-risk services, including:
- OB/GYN and other women’s healthcare.
- Rural healthcare.
- Low income healthcare services.
- Community clinics.
- HIV/AIDS specialty services.
Undermining MICRA’s intent will also reduce access to routine health care, including regular screenings for high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases and other serious health risks.