California Malpractice Cap Reform Effort Generates Big Spending

CostSavingsBob Pack wanted to go after the HMO doctors for recklessly prescribing painkillers to a drug-abusing nanny who ran over his 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter as they were heading for ice cream one early fall evening in 2003. But under California’s 1970s-era medical malpractice law there was a $250,000 cap on pain and suffering. Instead of pursuing a case because of the cap, he settled so he could care for his wife, who lost the twins she was carrying in the crash. A November ballot initiative named after his children – Troy and Alana – seeks to raise the cap to $1.1 million. The campaign has prompted a ferocious fight between doctors and attorneys over the rights of injured patients with roughly $66 million raised so far in one of the state’s more expensive ballot initiatives according to a report in the Claims Journal.

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