In a year where the world was starting to return to “normal,” the California Medical Association (CMA) seized the opportunity to make big gains for physician practices in several areas, from modernizing crucial malpractice legislation, preserving reproductive rights and encouraging grassroots engagement. This year’s achievements include:
CMA's Top Highlights for 2022
MICRA Modernization: Facing another statewide ballot proposition that would have effectively eliminated MICRA’s cap on non-economic damages, CMA and Californians Allied for Patient Protection seized an opportunity to end one of the longest running political battles in California. The legislative deal (AB 35), which modernizes MICRA while preserving its underlying principles, has ushered in a new and sustained era of stability around malpractice liability.
Reproductive Rights: After the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, CMA worked with the Future of Abortion Council to protect and expand access to reproductive health care in California, leading to 15 bills signed into law, $200 million in the state budget and the passage of Prop. 1 to enshrine abortion rights into California’s constitution.
Election Victories: CMA member Jasmeet Bains, M.D., joined the California Assembly as its third physician legislator, while incumbent assemblymembers Joaquin Arambula, M.D., and Akilah Weber, M.D., were re-elected. At the federal level, representatives Ami Bera, M.D., and Raul Ruiz, M.D., were re-elected to Congress. CMA also saw its ballot measure positions reflected in election results, including the rejection of Prop. 29 (dialysis clinic requirements) and passage of Prop. 31 (ban on flavored tobacco).
Federal Loan Forgiveness: The U.S. Department of Education overhauled the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, including the specific fix that CMA advocated for that will allow all eligible California physicians to receive loan forgiveness.
Grassroots Engagement: CMA saw unprecedented grassroots physician engagement, with nearly 4,000 messages sent to policymakers. These physician voices were key in helping to defeat AB 2060 (public member majority on Medical Board of California) and AB 2236 (allowing optometrists to perform surgical procedures).
Community Health Centers: CMA saw rapid membership growth among community health centers, resulting in an expansion of our mode of practice forums and House of Delegates representation.
Retention Payments: CMA helped secure $1.3 billion in the state budget to provide retention bonuses for many of California’s physicians and other health care workers to stabilize the health care workforce.
Universal Health Care: CMA successfully advocated for full-scope Medi-Cal coverage for all income-eligible Californians by January 1, 2024, making California the first state to expand its Medicaid program to provide full benefits to all eligible individuals regardless of age or documentation status.
Virtual Grand Rounds: CMA completed its 29th Virtual Grand Rounds webinar, providing critical COVID-19 continuing medical education to nearly 13,500 attendees while expanding topics to include other public health concerns such as long COVID, monkeypox and wildfire smoke.