Frontlines Archive

Proposition 45 – The “Other” Trial Lawyer Proposition Puts a State Politician in Charge of Your Patients’ Health Care

There is more than one proposition on the California ballot this November that threatens health care providers and patients.  The same groups pushing to change the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) – “Consumer Watchdog” and their trial lawyer allies – are also pushing Proposition 45 that would give the state Insurance Commissioner sweeping new power over health care benefits, rates and co-payments for individuals and small groups. 

The CUA is part of a broad coalition opposed to Proposition 45, including the California Medical Association, California Hospital Association, county medical societies, specialty societies, hospitals, health plans, labor and small businesses.

CMA President Dr. Richard Thorp explained why so many provider groups are opposing Prop 45: “Proposition 45 threatens physicians’ ability to provide the care that patients need by giving a single elected politician – the Insurance Commissioner – vast new power over health care benefits and rates. With recent cuts to the Medi-Cal program, we are already seeing the devastating impact it can have on patient access to care when politicians cut reimbursement rates below the cost of providing care. Additional cuts would result in an even more difficult time for patients that need care the most.”

Even worse, Prop 45 gives a politician new power over benefits too.  The last thing doctors and patients need is a politician having more power to interfere with what treatments are or aren’t covered – those decisions are best left to the exam room.

Beyond these flaws, Prop 45 has a hidden agenda – allowing trial lawyers and the sponsors to file costly new health care lawsuits.  They buried a provision in the fine print that allows them to “intervene” in the regulatory process created under the Initiative and file lawsuits if they don’t like the results.  In doing so, they can pocket millions of dollars in so-called “intervenor fees” – as much as $675/hour. In fact, the proponents have already received more than $11.5 million from a similar provision used in auto and home insurance regulation.

Many business groups and taxpayer organizations also oppose Prop 45 because it sets up a costly, duplicative new bureaucracy, when California already has multiple regulators overseeing health care.

Lastly, Prop 45 establishes new and conflicting rules that could interfere with California’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act – providing more uncertainty, delays and confusion at a time when California providers and patients are already dealing with massive changes to our health care system.

For more information or to sign up to oppose Prop 45, visit www.stophighercosts.org.