For too long, Californians who have been harmed instead of healed by our health care system have faced a formidable obstacle in seeking accountability in a court of law for medical negligence. It’s called MICRA, Sacramento shorthand for the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975.

Over the course of four decades, MICRA has put an artificial cap of $250,000 on pain and suffering damages in cases involving medical malpractice, no matter the outcome – even death.

In all that time the MICRA limit has remained unchanged, despite decades of inflation that have reduced its economic effect by roughly 80%. Meanwhile, MICRA has yanked crucial economic decisions out of the hands of citizen juries, as they are not allowed to know of these caps during the course of the trial.

It has done little to help doctors and nothing to improve patient care. Its main beneficiaries have been insurance companies. This issue of limits on damages in medical malpractice lawsuit is California’s longest-running single-issue political battle.