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Why vote YES on Prop 46 on November 4, 2014?

  1. It will require drug and alcohol testing of doctors: Doctors will be tested just like airline pilots, bus drivers, and other public safety professionals.  Why is that important? California's doctor licensing agency reports that 20% of doctors have an addiction problem.  Prop 46 will require random testing of hospital doctors and after someone is harmed in the hospital.  This will deliver needed help to doctors suffering from addiction - before they harm again.
  2. It will stop addicts from doctor-shopping to get more drugs: Prop 46 will require doctors to look at the existing California database before prescribing narcotics.  Prescription drug abuse costs us more than $55 billion dollars a year.  The Legislative Analyst's Office says YES on Prop 46 will provide "significant" savings.
  3. It will stop health care providers from treating people like a "cost of doing business" and make them accountable for their harmful decisions: Prop 46 will raise the 40 year old arbitrary cap on pain and suffering in medical malpractice and elder and dependent adult abuse cases from $250,000 to $1.1 million, a simple cost of living increase for the four decades this cap has stayed the same.

We have been programmed by the insurance industry to think that filing a lawsuit is easy and provides lottery-type winnings to people who are barely hurt or gaming the system.  That has not been my experience.  As you know, I prosecute cases of horrific abuse and neglect of our parents, grandparents, spouses and children.  I represent people who have been seriously harmed or killed at the hands of those who promised to provide care.  No one thinks they, or a loved one, will be hurt, disfigured or killed by medical negligence, neglect or abuse.  Yet these things happen in our community.  They happen to real people.  Until it happens to you, an arbitrary and unjust "cap" on damages is probably something you have never thought about.  I am asking you to think about it now.

The insurance industry is spending more than $60 million to defeat Prop 46 using falsehoods, distortions and fear tactics.  Unfortunately, regular folks don't have the same cash and clout to point out these distortions.  That's the reason for this blog post.  I hope to reach everyone I can to share this important message.

The "No" campaign wants you to think Prop 46 is all about making money for lawyers.  What they won't tell you is that trial lawyers today can't afford to take the vast majority of negligence and abuse cases.  Why? Because it costs too much.  The lawyer must hire experts and private investigators to prove the case, which often cost more than can be recovered under the existing cap.  So, many victims of medical harm have no remedy.  Prop 46 will fix this.

The "No" campaign wants you to believe that raising the cap would lead to soaring malpractice premiums and cause doctors to quit or leave the state.  They won't offer you any evidence, because there is none.  And they won't tell you that in states where similar caps have been eliminated, malpractice premiums have not gone up and there are actually more doctors since the caps were removed.

We are on the side of the people, not the insurance companies or the health care industry.  We are on the side of safe care, not more money for corporations.

Please join us in voting YES on Prop 46.  I ask that you share this message with friends, family, and co-workers.  This is a crucial vote: we will not have this opportunity again in our lifetimes. For more information go to www.yeson46.org and the Yeson46 Facebook page at www.facebook.com/YesOn46.

-Kathryn Stebner

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