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Measure To Raise Malpractice Cap Would Also Require Random Drug Testing For Doctors

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The ballot measure would require random drug testing of doctors.

Physicians who fail or refuse would be reported and suspended. Proponents also wants to require that physicians check a database before prescribing a patient a controlled substance. The measure would also increase the current $250,000-cap on malpractice compensation to keep up with inflation.

Jamie Court from Consumer Watchdog says the current ceiling makes attorneys less likely to represent some victims.  

“This is all about one simple theme -- taking on the biggest threats to patient safety and creating modest reforms that probably should have been in effect years and years ago," says Court. 

Doctors groups say the measure is deceptive – they say the proposition is obviously about lifting the damages cap and that will increase lawsuits and raise health care costs.

Steve Boilard of the Center for California Studies says sometimes, ballot measures lump together a few proposals to increase popularity.  

“I do think that it’s part of a pattern that you see a lot of the time, where there are several different pieces to the initiative, and some of which are there just to vote positively on it," says Boilard.

Boilard says there’s nothing illegal about bunching together proposals as long they deal with the same subject matter, but those measures may require a closer look from voters.

“I wouldn’t say that there’s anything nefarious about it, but I do think that when voters don’t pay close attention to what they’re voting on, they can be swayed by that sweetener without recognizing what this initiative is all about," says Boilard.

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