Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund, Amendment 3 (October 2011)

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Amendment 3
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Article XII, Section 16
Referred by:Louisiana State Legislature
Topic:Health care
Status:Approved Approveda
The Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund, Amendment 3 appeared on the October 22, 2011 statewide ballot in Louisiana as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was approved Approveda.[1]

The measure called for creating a a private custodial fund for the use, benefit, and protection of medical malpractice claimants and private health care provider members.

Election results

Amendment 3 (October 2011)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 475660 53.31%
No41658146.69%

Source: Louisiana Secretary of State, official results 10/22/11

Text of measure

The ballot question read:[2]

To authorize the legislature to establish a private custodial fund, designated as the Patient's Compensation Fund, for the use, benefit, and protection of medical malpractice claimants and private health care provider members; to provide that assets of the fund shall not be state property.

Constitutional changes

See also: Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund, Amendment 3 (October 2011), constitutional text changes

Amendment 3 added Article XII, Section 16.

Support

Supporters of the proposed amendment argued that the funds going into the existing Patient’s Compensation Fund were from private health care providers and as such should remain available for the "use, benefit, and protection of medical malpractice claimants and private health care provider members," according to reports. The proposed amendment would safe guard against statutory changes to make the funds available for public use. Additionally, supporters noted that the amendment would also safe guard the state against any additional payments in reference to the fund (for example: legal obligations).[3][4]

In a statement the Council for A Better Louisiana announced their support for the proposed amendment. "While CABL does not generally support the proliferation of amendments to the constitution, we recognize that some are needed to change policies that are already established in the constitution. We believe all of the changes proposed for the October ballot are reasonable and make sense from a policy perspective," said Barry Erwin, president of the council, in a statement.[5]

Note: As of September 2011 there was no organized support or campaign effort.

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated December 2011)

Opposition

Opponents argued that the amendment was unnecessary. In response to supporters who argued that the amendment would ensure that funds are not used for state purposes, opponents said that the legislature has never made such an effort.[3][4]

Note: As of September 2011 there was no organized opposition or campaign effort.

Healthcare on the ballot in 2011
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Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated December 2011)

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Louisiana ballot measures, 2011

Support

  • The Daily Iberian said, "No. 3 would eliminate the chance the Legislature might do something it's never done - dipping into a fund set up to pay medical malpractice claims, funded by those in the medical professions. Since it's not protected, it could be used by some future creative legislation, so this amendment locks the funds down only for the currently projected use."[6]
  • Houma Today said, "This is a good idea that simply protects something that is already being done."[7]

Opposition

  • The News-Star said, "...this fund is covered in statute, and the Legislature has not attempted to raid it to balance the budget."[8]
  • The Times-Picayune said, "The Legislature has never attempted to raid the fund. In addition, many other similar funds have been set up by the state for private interest groups that also might want or seek protection in the Constitution -- which could further clog the document with exceptions. This amendment also would provide for the state to put public money into the Patient's Compensation Fund, in effect setting up a potential bailout. That may not be in the best interests of taxpayers."[9]

Path to the ballot

See also: Louisiana legislatively-referred constitutional amendments

If 2/3rds of the members of both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature voted in the affirmative, a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment could be placed on the statewide ballot.

On June 1, 2011 the House voted 88-0 in favor of the proposed amendment. The Senate similarily approved the measure following a 38-0 vote on June 19, 2011. The measure was referred to the Louisiana Secretary of State for the statewide ballot on June 23, 2011.[10]

Timeline

Calendar.png

The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
House vote June 1 2011 House voted 88-0 in favor of referring the measure
Senate vote June 19, 2011 Senate voted 38-0 in favor of the proposal
Certified June 23, 2011 Referred and certified for the 2011 ballot

See also

By Bailey Ludlam
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