California Senator Barbara Boxer widely publicized her stance on the controversial Proposition 46 by participating in a TV advertisement urging CA residents to ‘save lives’ and vote yes on the referendum. Proposition 46 is a California ballot that would raise the cap on some types of medical malpractice awards throughout the state from $250,000 to over $1 million. The $250,000 reward ceiling was originally instituted in 1975 and is still being used today. With preventable medical errors having recently been named the third leading cause of death in the United States, this topic is especially relevant.
Senator Barbara Boxer maintains that an initiative to raise the ceilings would result in a reduction of preventable medical errors due to their higher consequence. The more at stake, she claims, the more reason medical professionals would have to avoid costly errors. Prop 46 would also institute randomized drug testing of California physicians in hopes of preventing prescription drug abuse and any resulting compromised treatment.
Proponents of the initiative include parents who have lost their young children as a result of medical mistakes that were proven to have been preventable. Many of these parents cannot retain an attorney for wrongful death due to the high cost of filing a legal suit versus the relatively low compensation award ceilings in California.
Opponents of the initiative are mainly made up of malpractice insurance representatives and physicians that believe the initiative is largely backed by trial attorneys looking for higher compensation and fees. They do not address the many victims of medical malpractice that have been unable to obtain justice for their tragic and avoidable experiences.
Advocates of Prop 46 have not been able to raise as much money as their opponents and are hoping to spread awareness through TV advertisements. It is their hope that if Prop 46 is passed, medical professionals in the state of California would become more cautious in their dealings with patients. To watch the TV advertisement featuring Senator Barbara Boxer on Prop 46, click here.