This legislative session has started off with a bang, as nearly 3,000 bills have been introduced. As in past years, several legislative and regulatory issues could potentially have a significant impact on anesthesiologists and the specialty of anesthesiology. These include legislative solutions to fix the problem of “surprise” bills for out-of-network care, inappropriate expansion of mid-level providers’ scope of practice, and regulation of dental anesthesia administration and monitoring. These issues have the potential to chip away at physician-led care, and could have a dramatic impact on how you deliver anesthesia services, and how you operate your practice. CSA made the strategic decision to move our headquarters to Sacramento in order to meet these challenges head-on, and be closer to the political pulse of California.
The reality is that effective advocacy requires an integrated approach: lobbying, grassroots engagement, public relations and political action. This is the time to invest in CSA’s future in Sacramento by making a contribution to GASPAC, CSA’s political action committee. Starting today, we are kicking off our March Mayhem GASPAC Fundraising Challenge.
It’s “crunch time” for CSA members, and we need your help in meeting our goal of raising $50,000 over the next five days. Please logon to GASPAC, where you can make an annual contribution or setup affordable, monthly payments! Become a member of the “Golden Gate Club” for an annual donation of $500 or more, or even better, pledge $1,000 for the year with monthly payments of $84.
With recent changes in legislative term limits, now is the time to form lasting relationships with key legislators. Having a strong political advocacy voice is more important than ever, as members of the State Assembly and Senate now have the ability to serve up to a total of 12 years in one house. (The former rule limited them to six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate.) This change in term limits allows legislators to become astute policy experts, and affords them the ability to obtain leadership positions that will extend over a prolonged period of time. Seniority now equals power – much like the U.S. Congress.
We witnessed this on Monday, March 7 when Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) was sworn in as the new Speaker of the Assembly. Speaker Rendon won’t be termed out until 2024, which makes it possible for him to preside over the Assembly for eight more years!
As a result of the change in term limits, there is now a more stable (albeit less experienced) California Legislature. After the current 2016 election cycle, an astonishing 98 out of 120 members of the California Legislature will have served four years or less. This year there are 17 open seats in the Assembly and six open seats in the Senate due to the old term limit system – 23 seasoned state legislators will be termed out, and will take their knowledge and experience on anesthesiology issues with them. We need to work with the new legislators as soon as they take office, to educate them about physician-led care and other critical health issues.
You can bet that GASPAC will be taking all of this into consideration as the election cycle moves forward! We are focused on playing offense and defense. But the only way for the CSA team to win is to have ample PAC resources.
That’s why we need you to contribute to GASPAC today! It’s important to have 100 percent participation from all CSA leaders and members. Other medical specialties such as orthopedic surgeons have significantly larger PAC resources.
Now is not the time to sit on the bench. With a strong, viable GASPAC, CSA has the chance to “get into the political game” in Sacramento. Let’s join CMA and our other House of Medicine allies in supporting leaders that understand the importance of physician-led care. With your help, CSA can be an even stronger voice at the State Capitol, advancing the interests of all California physicians and patients.