Consumer Watchdog Campaign: Final Yes on 46 TV Ad, “Need A Drink?” Dramatizes Risks To Patient Safety When Doctors Are Not Drug & Alcohol Tested

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Santa Monica, CA – Consumer advocates and victims of medical negligence released a new Yes on 46 TV ad today featuring a sweating, shaky surgeon who runs out of the operating room and dramatizes the potentially deadly risks of physician substance abuse.

The ad, “Need A Drink?” also warns voters about the $100 million that the insurance industry is spending this election cycle to deceive the public about two ballot measures, Propositions 45 and 46, that will hold them accountable for fair prices and patient safety.

View the “Need A Drink?” ad here:

The ad dramatizes how patients are placed in harm’s way when they are treated by doctors with substance abuse problems. Up to 2600 doctors in California have an addiction problem at any given time, yet the Medical Board only disciplines an average of 32 doctors a year for abuse.

“Doctors under the influence place us all at risk but the malpractice insurance companies funding the “No” campaign don’t want to be held accountable when their doctors harm someone. Random drug testing under Prop 46 will identify those dangerous doctors and suspend them when they’re found to have been impaired on duty,” said Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog.

Malpractice and health insurance companies have given $44 of the $58 million that opponents of Proposition 46’s patient safety reforms are spending on deceptive TV ads and mailers. Health insurance companies are spending $57 million against Proposition 45’s prohibition on excessive health insurance rates.

“The real risk in this election is letting the insurance industry get away with buying it, but voters know that when insurance companies spend $100 million it’s not to protect us,” said Balber.

Examples of dangerous doctors across California who placed their patients at risk while addicted to drugs or alcohol can be found at:

The $100+ million insurance industry campaign has made California’s 2014 November ballot one of the most expensive campaigns in the nation.

Prop 46 requires mandatory drug testing for physicians and suspension of impaired physicians' licenses, mandatory checks of an existing prescription drug database before narcotics are prescribed to first time patients, and indexes for inflation the state's 38 year old cap on damages for medical negligence victims. Insurance companies are spending so much against it because they don't want to be accountable when physicians cause harm.

For more on Proposition 46 visit:

For more on Proposition 45 visit:

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Paid for by Consumer Watchdog Campaign – Yes on 46, a coalition of attorneys, consumer advocates, and patients.  2701 Ocean Park Blvd., Ste. 112, Santa Monica, CA  90405.  Major Funding by Aitken, Aitken & Cohn, LLP.

Carmen Balber
Carmen Balber
Consumer Watchdog executive director Carmen Balber has been with the organization for nearly two decades. She spent four years directing the group’s Washington, D.C. office where she advocated for key health insurance market reforms that were ultimately enacted into law as part of the Affordable Care Act.

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