Citizen Coalition Voices Opposition to Wash. Initiative

December 28, 2004

Citizens for Better Safer Healthcare, a coalition of consumer and patient rights groups, on Tuesday denounced Initiative 330 (I-330) — an initiative backed by the insurance industry and the state medical association — that would reportedly drastically limit the rights of
patients across the state of Washington. The insurance lobby submitted I-330 to the Secretary of State Tuesday morning.

“I-330 makes false promises to a healthcare system in crisis,” said Dylan Malone, spokesperson for Citizens for Better Safer Healthcare. “I-330 takes away patients’ rights, grants sweeping immunity to bad doctors and shifts medical malpractice costs to the taxpayer.”

“The only way to reform the medical malpractice liability system is to
demand greater accountability from the insurance industry, the healthcare system and the courts,” added Bill Monto, spokesperson for the No on I-330 campaign.

Monto also stated that I-330 shields bad doctors, drug companies, medical device manufacturers, HMOs and insurance companies, negligent nursing homes and hospitals from accountability to patients and their families.

In addition to capping damages, provisions in I-330 reportedly require that people sign away their rights before receiving any medical services.

“Caps on damages unfairly hurt those malpractice victims with the most serious injuries and do nothing to reduce insurance premiums or keep coverage accessible for doctors, but I-330 goes even beyond caps,” said Monto.

I-330 also imposes a restrictive statute of limitations that reportedly cuts off legitimate claims on injuries with long incubation periods.

“This means, for example, that if a patient is infected with HIV from
tainted blood and does not present symptoms within five years — which is often the case — he or she would not be able to seek a remedy from those that caused the infection in the first place,” added Monto.

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