With nearly $60 million stockpiled by opponents, the ballot measure was denied and failed in every California County. The failure left lawyers with their backs against the wall and the anticipation of prospective increases in pain and suffering payouts in medical malpractice became dim. Lawyers reported the limit on these awards make it economically impossible to take on frequent malpractice lawsuits. According to Melanie Mason who wrote in a Los Angeles Times (2014) the discord dates back to 1975, when the cap was first initiated. Early on, separation of support was clearly defined along predominantly partisan lines.
For the most part, the California Medical Association and malpractice insurance companies allied with Republicans and the lawyers with Democrats. This then shifted over the years as Democrats concentrated their influence in the Legislature. Mason (2014) eloquently goes on to summarize what occurs next in the following quotation: The California Medical Association brought on Steve Thompson, a top staffer for longtime Democratic Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, as its chief lobbyist in the early 1990s. Successive lobbyists have also come from Democratic ranks, such as women’s-rights groups and labor unions.
The medical organization has spent nearly $22 million on lobbying since 1999, when online lobbying filings started. They’re joined on the issue by a deep-pocketed coalition of malpractice insurers, hospitals and dentists. The attorneys group has spent almost $18 million on lobbying since 1999. ‘Money talks,’ said Brian Kabateck, addressing the lawyers’ waning influence in the Capitol. Dustin Corcoran, chief executive of the California Medical Association, dismissed the claim that money makes his group more powerful, saying it has its own battles against well-funded opponents.
In the early beginning of the battle, the opponents had the colossal advantage monetarily as they gathered more than $30 million before the measure qualified for the ballot. As time went on, the doctors’ preparation for the ensuing war to come and had amassed nearly double their starting amount. By August, “the ‘no’ campaign hit the airwaves…by election day [sic], the state had been saturated with anti-Proposition 46 ads” (Mason 2014). According to Mason (2014), the ‘yes’ side had only collected $12. 5 million in comparison. Accumulating the money so late caused the proponents to be at a major advertising disadvantage.
‘They were on “Monday Night Football. ”… We were on a couple of daytime soap operas a month later,’ said Geoff Wells, president of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles” (Mason 2014). The article in the Los Angeles Times (2014) goes on to mention the vulnerability of the measure to attack due to its multiple components. “The American Civil Liberties Union opposed the drug-testing provision. Planned Parenthood fought an increase in the award cap, arguing it would drive up malpractice insurance premiums for practitioners” (Mason 2014).
Eric Bauman, chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party also agreed that the many facets of the proposition made it liable to defeat. In conclusion, majority of citizens voted against Proposition 46 due to the myriad of money afforded by the opposition in order to fund for advertisements and build a solid campaign argument. The proposition brought forth valid points and profound amendments which neither side could deny would have a drastic impact if passed. Acknowledging this threat, the opposition spent nearly $60 million or almost 6 times more than their counterparts.
Democracy paves the way for people to bring forth ideas and changes to be discussed, accepted or challenged. Democracy grants us, not only with choices, but also differing theory models. Pluralist theory differs in comparison to elitist theory; however, pluralism prevails when describing American politics. This was clearly represented in this propositional debate. There were multiple competing groups making demands on government, not only the elites with power. There was not a consensus over values and goals but rather conflict and competition to resolve the issue.
There were many interest groups, parties and government personnel involved. Robert pack, an individual, upwardly mobilized his political influence by using his personal tragic story. He garnered support to create Prop 46. This shows pluralist theory of bottom-up instead of the elite theory’s downward influence from elites to the masses. The policy was ultimately denied because of the loss of influence and lack of mass support. In the future, if we all contributed to change necessary as citizens and voters to improve our lives and others; then as pluralism proclaims, leaders will be force to be held accountable to the people.