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Doctors vs. lawyers: who does Prop 46 really benefit?

on October 29, 2014

What do East Bay voters think of the state ballot initiative that pits doctors against lawyers?

Proposition 46, called the “Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Cap and Drug Testing of Doctors Initiative,” is a four-fold ballot measure attacking medical errors from multiple directions.

The measure would increase the state’s cap on medical malpractice awards for pain and suffering from $250,000 to over $1 million. It would suspend and take disciplinary action against doctors found under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty. It also would require doctors to consult a statewide prescription drug history database before prescribing some controlled substances to patients. Finally, it would require drug and alcohol testing of doctors.

Supporters for the proposition have raised $8,164,177 to date, and opponents have raised $57,759,250, according to Cal Access, as of October 29, 2014.

Opponents of Prop 46 believe the last item – drug and alcohol testing for doctors – was added to make the proposition more appealing to constituents, masking the medical malpractice payouts to attorneys. Supporters argue that medical negligence is all too common and doctors must be regulated. But how do East Bay residents really feel about the drug testing of doctors?

Click the audio link that accompanies this story to hear how East Bay residents have reacted to Prop 46.

Illustration by Jared Rodriguez /

East Bay residents react to one element of Proposition 46, which requires random drug and alcohol testing of doctors.

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