KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Coalition Begins Effort For Ballot Initiative To Lift California’s Malpractice Cap

Supporters hope their proposal will qualify for the November 2014 ballot. In response, a second coalition -- this one consisting of doctors and hospitals -- is working to defeat the measure.  

Los Angeles Times: Watchdog Group, Father Begin Medical Malpractice Initiative Campaign
Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog and the father of two children killed by a drug-abusing driver have taken the first step toward waging an initiative campaign to raise limits on medical malpractice "pain and suffering" jury awards. ... Supporters hope to qualify for the November 2014 general election ballot. The campaign wants voters to change a 38-year-old California law that puts a $250,000 cap on the amount of money that juries can award for non-economic damages resulting from a medical provider's malpractice. A key element would hike the cap by accounting for inflation since 1975 and then adjusting it annually as needed. In today's dollars, the current cap would be about $1 million (Lifsher, 7/25).

Sacramento Bee: Initiative To Lift California Medical Malpractice Cap Filed
The drive to raise the amount victims can recover in medical malpractice lawsuits may be going to California's ballot box. A coalition that includes the Consumer Attorneys of California, an organization representing trial lawyers, has been lobbying the Legislature aggressively this year to lift a $250,000 ceiling on pain and suffering damages in malpractice cases (White, 7/25).

Los Angeles Times: Doctors, Hospitals Join To Fight Changes To Malpractice Awards
The fight to raise the cap on awards in medical malpractice cases was officially joined on Thursday with groups backed by litigators filing a ballot initiative that could be before voters next year, and a coalition of doctors and hospitals responding with a new political committee to defeat the proposal (York, 7/25). 

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