Just a quick recap of election results that may be of interest to physicians.
First, terrific news from California. The California Medical Association led a coalition engaged in a year-long defense of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) legislation. The package of liability reforms contained in MICRA are seen as the gold standard for state medical liability policy, and the heart of the package is a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages. The California trial lawyers placed a ballot question before the voters to significantly increase the cap and add random drug testing for physicians.
This message was distributed by CMA yesterday. “[On Tuesday] the voters of California spoke loudly and definitively, sending the trial lawyers’ Proposition 46 to defeat by a vote of 67 to 33. The message is clear – Californians simply don’t want to increase health care costs and reduce health access so trial attorneys can file more lawsuits.”
The 113th Congress included 3 physicians in the Senate and 17 physicians in the House of Representatives (including 1 Delegate). Two of the 17 physicians in the House voluntarily left their seats to run for US Senate. The 114th Congress looks to have 14-15 physicians in the House.
Physicians running as incumbents for Congressional seats were generally successful in their reelection bids. Notable races include Rep. Bill Cassidy, MD is in a run off for his House seat in Louisiana. Rep. Ami Bera, MD won California’s hotly contested 7th District in 2012 but is currently behind his opponent in a race that is still undeclared.
Physicians challenging for first terms in Congress include:
Monica Wehby, MD, a neuro surgeon, was defeated in her US Senate bid in Oregon.
Alieta Eck, MD was defeated in her challenge for the US House of Representatives seat vacated by Rep. Rush Holt in New Jersey.
The key congressional committees with jurisdiction over healthcare will all likely see new leadership. These include The House Energy & Commerce Committee,
The House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee