Prop 46 Calls for Physician Drug Testing, $1.1 Million Lawsuit Cap

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The ad is from Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica-based consumer advocate nonprofit.

In the advertisement, the spokesperson is a Tennessee doctor and recovering drug addict who claims he dealt with patients while he was under the influence of prescription drugs.

One Los Angeles resident, Michelle Monserratt-Ramos, hopes the proposition will pass this November so that no other person has to deal with a sudden tragedy. In 2003, her fiance Lloyd Monserratt died at the hospital at the age of 36 after complications from a gall bladder removal surgery. She later found out her fiance's surgeon had a drug problem.

"Lloyd's doctor was arrested three times, all while he held a license to practice medicine in the state of California, with one of those arrest records being felony possession of crack cocaine," she said.

But Dr. Sion Roy, a cardiologist at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, is opposed to Prop 46. He said the random drug and alcohol testing would affect a physician even when they're not working.

"It's the first drug test of its kind that would test physicians when they're off duty. They can call a physician who is at dinner having a glass of wine to get randomly drug tested," he said.

Roy added that raising the malpractice lawsuit cap to $1.1 million would result in higher medical costs for consumers.

"It's been assessed that it will triple the malpractice insurance rates. That's particularly distressing in underserved communities. Community health clinics (and) Planned Parenthood have already said they'd have to cut services because that's a huge increase in costs for them," he said.

Consumer Watchdog argues that the cap has been the same for 38 years with no adjustment for inflation. The current cap at $250,000 has been the same since 1975.

California residents will have a chance to vote on Prop 46 on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

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