Re "Voters can't avoid health care politics" (Viewpoints, Jan. 2): If the trial lawyer-funded measure changing medical liability lawsuits passes, insurance costs for community clinics will increase. That's only one reason Planned Parenthood opposes this flawed initiative. It will increase individual doctors' medical liability insurance costs, especially for obstetricians and gynocologists. Planned Parenthood provides prenatal care in several areas and refers 2,500 patients for prenatal services monthly. Prenatal care is essential to maternal and infant health. Babies of mothers who don't receive prenatal care have lower birth weights and higher mortality. In California, 40 percent of births are paid for by Medi-Cal, yet Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates are among the lowest in the nation. So, providers are unable to absorb increased costs, and they cannot shift costs to patients. Higher insurance costs could result in fewer obstetric providers in rural and underserved communities or doctors unwilling to accept high-risk patients.
-- Kathy Kneer, Sacramento, president, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California