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Special "News You Can Use" — August 2, 2013



<> Executive Director Comments: On Wednesday, July 24, California's trial lawyers made good on their threat to go to the ballot box to repeal MICRA by submitting language to the California Attorney General, the first step in a long and expensive process to qualify a measure for the ballot. They must gather 500,000 valid signatures to place the measure before voters in November 2014.

The initiative's most pernicious provision would increase the cap on speculative, non-economic damages from the current $250,000 to more than $1.25 million, with automatic increases every year.

Its other (onerous) provisions relate to physician drug testing and prescription drugs, but — make no mistake — the main purpose is to change MICRA to make it easier for lawyers to file lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, community clinics, and other healthcare providers, thereby generating big paydays for themselves.

If the initiative passes, the immediate impact on you, your practice, and your patients will be dramatic and severe.

Over decades we've successfully spent your dues and CALPAC contributions to assure MICRA's safety in the California Legislature and defend it in both state and federal courts. But an assault on MICRA through the ballot box is different and dramatically more expensive.

We will need every member to contribute above and beyond their dues in order to win at the ballot box in 2014. And we will need nonmembers to contribute by joining SDCMS-CMA and / or by directly contributing to efforts to defeat this assault, via the newly formed coalition or through the CMA Political Education Fund.

We are all in this together, and CMA will be leading the fight, working with numerous coalition partners. Please use the resources below to educate yourself, your colleagues, and your patients.

Contact SDCMS if you're asked by media to comment. Think twice before going it alone with media, lest you find yourself in a TV ad or similar a year from now, being excerpted in a way that helps the trial attorneys and their ilk. This will not be a layperson's campaign, but a very carefully orchestrated one that requires care in what is said along the way.

And do please contribute to the fight — we will win, but only if every physician across the state joins together to make it happen. As Benjamin Franklin said over two centuries ago, "We will either hang together, or they will hang us separately."


"We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." — Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

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