I can’t even vote here, but this is where I live so I have opinions. I’m no expert on any of these issues, so am open to persuasion. The Legislative Analyst’s Office provides a good overview of these propositions if you are unfamiliar.
Prop 2: State Budget Stabilization Account
I don’t even know what’s going on here. It appears both sides of legislature are trying to dig themselves out of a pretty major budgetary defecit by setting requirements for paying down debts. They claim this is good for schools. Educate Our State feels they are crooks and not only would this be bad for schools, but schools have been getting the bad end of the budget for decades. Both sides are shouting at each other and I can’t find the signal.
It is unanimously supported by democrat and republican candidates, so I’m slightly on a Yes vote. Could be a mistake: so was the 2005 Energy Policy Act.
Prop 45: Regulatory Approval on Healthcare Insurance Rate Changes
Insurance Commissioner would need to approve rate changes for health insurance. I don’t have a strong opinion, but it was proposed by the Consumer Watchdog and is opposed by Health Insurance companies, so I’d vote on trust.
Prop 46: Three Medical Things
Three unrelated proposals:
- Drug testing for doctors.
- Mandatory review of state-wide prescription database before prescribing controlled substances.
- Lift cap on medical malpractice claims from $250,000 to $1,100,00.
First one seems to miss the bigger issue. I’m more worried about my doctor pulling a double shift and not sleeping. If they take speed to keep themselves awake, that’s probably good, right? Why are doctors suffering from addictions in the first place? Tackle the underlying cause, not the symptom. (I have absolutely no research to support this claim.)
Mandatory review seems fine, though probably adds extra costs and nets out about zero.
I’m against raising claim limits. Doctors need to be able to make mistakes, otherwise two things happen: costs go up to cover increased insurance premiums, and doctors over-diagnose to cover their ass.
Update: Evan makes an opposing case on tort limits: “Can I convince you otherwise re: tort limits? Here’s some information:
- It’s not about letting Doctors make mistakes: Doctors aren’t paying, their insurance pays. The costs aren’t that high. Tort payouts are around 2% which is certainly manageable.
- The data behind tort limits cutting healthcare costs ranges from weak to nonexistent.
- 250k is simply too low a limit to compensate serious victims of negligence. The entire point of tort law is to recover losses; this cap essentially means victims with major injury have no real recourse and can’t be made whole.
- I carry a $1m liability policy for my car, it’s not much more than my previous 300k policy. $1m is really not that big of a number. If I’m potentially liable for that kind of money in the event of a car crash I don’t see why a medical practice shouldn’t be as well in the event that they, for example, amputate the wrong leg.
MICRA set the $250k limit in 1975. This is $1.1m in today’s dollars. The limit hasn’t kept up with inflation and even this quadrupling won’t bring it back to where it used to be.
The cost is statistically insignificant compared to the overall costs of health care (1-2%) but what is very significant is that caps don’t make the cost vanish – they just push the cost into the laps of the victims.”
I’m not completely convinced – 1-2% is still potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in a country with already astronomical healthcare costs – but I am more on the fence than I was.
Prop 47: Reduced Criminal Penalities
Reduced penalities for certain non-violent crimes, including drug offenses. This is a no-brainer: the US has over-criminalized its population and needs all the help it can get to fix the situation.
Prop 48: Indian Gaming Compacts
Allow North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe to operate a casino in Madera Country, by paying the state tens of millions of dollars.
Casinos are the wrong way to stimulate local economy, same as slapping a Walmart or a drilling rig in the middle of your town is.
I know the money and jobs are needed, but there are plenty of other ways to accomplish this.