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Insurance Companies Give $45 Million To Fight Proposition 46; Rake In Profits As New Ads Threaten Doctors and Patients With Price Hikes, Says Consumer Watchdog Campaign

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Medical malpractice and health insurance companies have given $45 million, or 77%, of the $58 million to the campaign against Proposition 46 as they rake in profits at the expense of doctor and patient policyholders, said Consumer Watchdog Campaign today.

The No on 46 campaign released its first ads this week, claiming Prop 46's legal protections for victims of medical negligence will raise doctors' malpractice insurance premiums and patients health care costs.

"The claim that insurance rates and health care costs will go up is preposterous in light of the malpractice insurance companies' industry-leading returns and regulation in California that has blocked some of the malpractice insurance industry's excessive profits, said Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog Campaign.  "When was the last time insurance companies spent $45 million to make sure their policyholders' premiums didn't rise?"

Proposition 46 will protect patient safety and save lives by indexing California's cap on medical negligence damages for 39 years of inflation, requiring physicians to undergo random drug and alcohol testing and mandating that physicians check the state prescription drug database before prescribing narcotics to first-time patients.

According to data from the California Department of Insurance, loss ratios of medical malpractice insurers are consistently lower than other kinds of insurance. In the last ten years, medical malpractice insurance loss ratios never topped 38%. In 2008, the loss ratio for California's medical malpractice insurers was merely 18% -- meaning just 18 cents of every premium dollar collected from California doctors was paid out in claims to injured patients. In comparison, other property and business insurance lines typically have loss ratios above 50%.

Proposition 103 regulates malpractice insurance rates in California, allowing the insurance commissioner and the public to challenge excessive rate increases. Since 2003, Consumer Watchdog has challenged and reduced $88 million in excessive malpractice rates. In 2012 alone, California's insurance commissioner ordered malpractice insurance companies to reduce excessive premiums by 25%, a $52 million reduction. In contrast, the California Medical Association has never once challenged a medical malpractice insurance company's excessive rates on behalf of its member doctors.

The insurance industry donors to No on 46 are:
Cooperative Of American Physicians -- $10,161,489
NORCAL Mutual Insurance Company -- $10,000,000
The Doctors Company -- $10,000,000
Medical Insurance Exchange Of California -- $7,500,000
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. -- $5,000,000
The Dentist Insurance Company -- $1,620,000
The Mutual Risk Retention Group Inc. -- $1,000,000

Learn more about Proposition 46 and the campaign for patient safety at: www.yeson46.org

Paid for by Yes on Prop. 46, Your Neighbors for Patient Safety, a Coalition of Consumer Attorneys and Patient Safety Advocates - major funding by Consumer Attorneys of California Issues and Initiative Defense Political Action Committees and Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc.

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog Campaign

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