Target: Governor Jerry Brown
Goal: Raise the cap on malpractice claims to appropriately adjust for inflation
California’s “Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act” (MICRA) of 1975, which puts a cap of $250,000 on amounts awarded to victims of medical malpractice for non-economic damages (pain and suffering), is a debasement to those affected by medical malpractice in California and to society as a whole. This amount was set in 1975 and is roughly equivalent to $100,000 today. At the very least, the cap needs to be raised to keep up with inflation. It seems brutish to even put a predetermined limit on pain and suffering as opposed to handling it on a case by case basis, but it is an outrageous insult to the people to allow an already low amount to lessen due to inflation.
Governor Jerry Brown oversaw the passage of MICRA when he held office from 1975-1983. In 2011, Brown was re-elected to the Governorship of California and still holds the position. In 1993, Brown spoke out against the act that he had helped pass saying: “Saddest of all, MICRA has revealed itself to have an arbitrary and cruel effect upon the victims of malpractice. It has not lowered health care costs, only enriched insurers and placed negligent or incompetent physicians outside the reach of judicial accountability. For these reasons, MICRA cannot and should not be a model for national legislation.”
But nearly two years into Brown’s term, MICRA still stands as it did in 1975, despite how right the Governor was about its effectiveness. It’s time for Governor Brown to back his promises up with action readjust the cap on medical malpractice awards set by MICRA to a higher, more reasonable figure.
Dear Governor Brown,
You said it best yourself: “MICRA has revealed itself to have an arbitrary and cruel effect upon the victims of malpractice.” After making these comments, it is very surprising that you haven’t repealed or made any changes to the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act that you signed off on back in 1975.
“Arbitrary” and “cruel” are not terms any right-minded citizen would consider a good description, especially of a piece of legislation that affects their health. It seems that a statute enacted that you would describe that way should be corrected immediately. Still, nearly two years into your term, MICRA still stands with the same $250,000 cap on non-economic damages.
Even though you have since expressed extremely negative feelings about the act, at the time you thought $250,000 was a fair amount. Now that figure is equivalent to only $100,000. This is not a call to abolish MICRA; it is only a plea to raise the cap so it is in accordance with inflation. At least return the cap to the number that you once thought was fair by adjusting it. Please do all you can to fix something that you yourself said is a detriment to the citizens of California.
[Your Name Here]