Oregon Health Care Damage Limit, Measure 35 (2004)
|Oregon Health Care Damage Limit, Measure 35 (2004)|
Text of measure
The ballot question read:
|“|| Amends Constitution: limits noneconomic damages (defined) recoverable for patient injuries caused by healthcare provider's negligence or recklessness.
Result of "Yes" vote: "Yes" vote limits of noneconomic damages (defined) or negligent or reckless injury to patient by healthcare provider to $500,000 (adjusted annually for inflation).
Result of "No" vote: "No" vote retains current law, which places no limit on injury of noneconomic damages (defined) for injury caused by negligence, recklessness of healthcare provider.
Amends constitution. Under current law, there is generally no limit on jury's award of noneconomic damages to patient, patient's legal representative, or patient's spouse for injury caused by healthcare provider. Measure limits recovery of noneconomic damages for negligent or reckless injury caused by an Oregon licensed healthcare provider or healthcare entity to $500,000. Defines noneconomic damages to include pain; mental suffering; emotional distress; loss of society, companionship, services; loss of sexual relations; inconvenience; interference with normal and usual activities apart from employment. Specifies formula to adjust for inflation annually. Limitation applies regardless of extent of injuries, number of people entitled to damages, or number of defendants sued. Does not apply to wrongful death claims. Applies to suits filed after January 1, 2005. Other provisions.
The estimated financial impact, according to the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet:
"There is no financial effect on state or local government expenditures or revenues."
The Yes on 35 campaign created a detailed slideshow (click to download) in support of the measure, arguing that "frivolous" lawsuits are hurting the health care system, causing insurance rates to go up, and forcing doctors to close their practices.
Many of those in the medical industry rallied around this measure. Some of the opponents include: 
- Oregon Medical Association
- Oregon Nurses Association
- Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems
- Oregon Health Care Association
- Edward J. Gormley, Mayor of McMinnville
Opponents of this measure argued that the initiative keeps victims of malpractice from recieving their just rewards. Some argued that the measure will do nothing to keep the cost of medical care down because it only takes away patients' rights and does not crack down on negligent doctors who are creating the cost problems.
Some of the opponents include: 
- Governor Theodore Kulongoski
- Dr. Thomas Saddoris, Family Physician
- Oregon State Fire Fighters Council
- United Seniors of Oregon
- Erin Brockovich
- Representative Bob Jenson
- Oregonians for Health Security
- Miller and Wagner LLP Trial Lawyers
- List of Oregon ballot measures
- Oregon 2004 ballot measures
- 2004 ballot measures
- Procedures for qualifying an initiative in Oregon
- Laws governing the initiative process in Oregon
- 2004 Election Results
- 2004 Voter Guide General Election
- Oregon State Library - 2004 Voters' Pamphlet