Friday, December 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Propaganda over malpractice measure a certainty

walters column sig

By
From page A11 | May 25, 2014 |

Jerry Brown signed the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act during the first year of his first governorship 39 years ago, and except for a brief truce, the contending factions have waged perpetual war over its provisions in the Capitol ever since.

MICRA, as it’s universally known, limits noneconomic damages in a medical malpractice case – generally called “pain and suffering” – to $250,000.

Physicians, backed by insurers, sought the legislation, contending that multimillion-dollar awards were driving them out of high-risk fields such as obstetrics.

Lawyers who specialize in personal injury cases hate the law and have been trying for decades to repeal or modify it, to no avail.

Now voters are being asked to break the political stalemate with the qualification of an initiative ballot measure that would quadruple the limit initially and adjust it for inflation thereafter.

Oddly, however, as proponents and opponents prepare to spend tens of millions of dollars on the issue, voters are unlikely to hear much about it. Instead, they will be treated – or subjected – to barrages of propaganda about other provisions of the measure that are deemed to have more visceral appeal.

Proponents of the “Pack Patient Safety Act” – so named because sponsor Robert Pack’s two children were killed in a collision with a car whose driver had been overprescribed with drugs – will tell voters that it’s about compelling doctors to be tested for drug abuse and requiring them to check on patients in a statewide drug database before issuing new prescriptions.

The measure’s lawyer-backed campaign has released a poll purporting to prove that voters support those two changes in law, but that didn’t even mention MICRA or its limit on malpractice damages.

Meanwhile, opponents – medical providers and their insurers – have done their own polling and believe that the drug database provision of the measure could be its Achilles heel.

The opposition campaign will contend that the database called CURES that doctors would have to consult before prescribing a drug to a patient is incapable of handling the demand that the measure would impose, and that using it could expose personal health information to widespread disclosure.

The latter is seen as a particularly powerful argument because personal privacy and database breaches have become a widespread concern.

Both campaigns will, therefore, be using a tried-and-true campaign technique of appealing to voters’ fears for their safety.

During the weeks leading up to November’s election, they will be told by one side that drug-addled doctors pose a huge risk to patients’ safety, and by the other side that their most intimate medical information would be placed in a malfunctioning database that could be easily penetrated.

What about MICRA’s $250,000 cap? Go fish.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him as dwalters@sacbee.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JagMay 25, 2014 - 9:52 am

    If it will drive up the cost of doing business and cause more doctors to Patrice out of California (go for it) the faster we bankrupt this state the faster the liberals will be voted out,

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Groundbreakings, ribbon-cuttings play role in civic life

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Sondheim’s ‘Woods’ holiday showcase for Missouri Street Theatre

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Frankye Kelly ready to spread holiday cheer

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Celebrate the magic of Christmas

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

 
Safe streets task force work nets 3

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

Santas have busy week at schools

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
 
 
Solano College approves officers, meeting schedule

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

Longtime Suisun harbor master to retire

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

 
Spy’s parents search for son after Cuba-US deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Next steps on Cuba: Normalizing could take awhile

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Sony hacking fallout puts all companies on alert

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Sony film took aim at North Korea’s biggest taboo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Police: Drunk man shot while entering wrong house

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
Local emergencies in Northern California counties after rain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California’s top utility regulator defends record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

‘Pretty horrible’ scene; car slams into crowd

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Tsarnaev appears in court for 1st time since 2013

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
President signs legislation ending Nazi benefit checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

2 states challenge Colorado marijuana legalization

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
‘Prison Houdini’ set to make his 1st legal escape

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Feds sue NYC over Rikers Island jail violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Russian sailors leaving France without warship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

 
European court rules obesity can be a disability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

.

Opinion

 
Another look at school bonds

By George Guynn Jr. | From Page: A11, 6 Comments

Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
News of the day strikes a chord

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D8

 
Should I use Child Protective Services threat to get back rent?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D8

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Dec. 19-25, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Robin Williams

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Craig Ferguson to end 10 years as host of ‘Late Late Show’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Eric Idle brings ‘Not the Messiah’ to Carnegie Hall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

.

Sports

49ers’ Aldon Smith hopes to build off tough year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
A’s trade All-Star catcher Derek Norris to Padres

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Warriors beat Thunder 114-109 after Durant injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
A’s acquire lefty De La Rosa from Arizona for cash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Raiders defense depleted by injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

49ers’ Harbaugh mum on reported offer from Michigan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Column: Thaw in US-Cuba relations warms up MLB

By Jim Litke | From Page: B8

Rivera: Newton ‘probably’ will start vs. Browns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Bears bench QB Jay Cutler for Clausen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

‘Hands Up’ players to attend Ferguson Christmas party

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Celtics trade Rondo to Mavericks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Rodriguez boys open Les Curry Tournament with victory

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

 
39 bowl games and a reason to watch every one

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Signups for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B11

 
.

Business

Roomiest Subaru Legacy debuts for 2015

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Dow industrials have their best day in three years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Ford expands drivers air bag recall nationwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Lisa Dee McHughes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Travis Curt Price

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jennie Ponce Reyes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics