General Election Forecast and Insights
While the national focus from the November 3, 2020 General Election is on the nail-biting race for the White House, California results tell a different story for CSA advocacy priorities. While we anticipate a major changeover in the make-up of the state Legislature in 2022 due to term limits and a return of the MICRA challenge on the statewide ballot; this election was moderately benign. California election results will not be certified until December 11, 2020.
However, the outcome of the Presidential Election will have a major impact on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the ability of California to draw down additional federal COVID relief funds, as well as California getting needed federal flexibility on how state Medicaid (i.e. Medi-Cal) dollars can be repurposed. Under a Biden Administration, we will also see a renewed interest in California on creating a single-payer healthcare system and Assembly Member Ash Kalra (D-Jose Jose) has already committed to authoring that legislation in 2021.
Key Assembly Races and Republican Gain
Assembly Democrats have maintained their “gigamajority” even though Republicans picked up one seat in AD 38 (Santa Clarita), as two Republicans had already made it out of the March Primary Election. As a result, Assembly Member-elect Suzette Martinez Valladares (R-Santa Clarita), will replace Democrat Assembly Member Christy Smith. CSA-supported Republican candidates also fended off a close challenge, including Assembly Business and Profession Committee Member Phillip Chen (Diamond Bar), Assembly Member Steven Choi (Irvine), whose son is an anesthesiologist in Orange County, and “No Party Preference” Assembly Health Committee Vice Chair Chad Mayes (I-Yucca Valley).
Key Senate Races and Democrat Pick Up
Senate Democrats will add at least one additional seat and possibly three more. Most notably, former Senate Health Committee and Senate Business and Professional Committee Member Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) has defeated Senate Business and Profession Committee Vice Chair Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar). Senator Newman had been supportive of CSA priorities during his initial term in the Legislature. State Senate races too close to call include, incumbent Senate Business and Professions Committee Member Scott Wilke (R-Santa Clarita), incumbent Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), and an open seat SD 23 in San Bernardino County.
Healthcare Related Ballot Measures – Split Decision
Voters are set to approve Proposition 14 that will issue $5.5 billion in bonds for stem cell research. For the second time in two general elections, voters overwhelmingly rejected union-backed and CMA strongly opposed, Proposition 23 that would have restricted access to dialysis clinics — a proposal that drew more than $100 million in opposition spending from the DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care.
Physician Involvement in State and National Positions
Over a dozen physicians continue to make inroads in being elected to state assembly and senator positions, as well in U.S. Congressional seats. CSA and ASA continue to represent the concerns of anesthesiologists and patients and will work diligently alongside our elected physician leaders to ensure that legislative proposals take into account workforce concerns, adequate Medicare reimbursement, ensuring patient safety and access to care. CSA strongly supported Assembly Health Committee Member and Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health Chair Joaquin Arambula, MD, (D-Selma) who won reelection.
Senate Health Committee Chair and Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health Chair Richard Pan, MD, (D-Sacramento) was not up for reelection, but he will be running for State Controller and CSA will support his bid.
CSA continues to “lead the way” in California, and we are deeply thankful for the profound engagement from our members this past year. We owe a special “thank you” to AMG, our management team, and our lobbying and media/communications team at KP Affairs.