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Health Impact News

SB 276 was heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee today, July 10, 2019.

Due to the exorbitant costs, it was sent to the Suspense File. Typically this is where a bill goes to die.

However, SB 276 could be removed from the Suspense File on August 31st and continue to move during this session.

It would have to pass the Assembly Floor before going back to the Senate for a Concurrence vote on the Assembly amendments and pass the Senate once more before hitting Newsom’s desk for his signature or veto.

Press Release from A Voice For A Choice Advocacy

Senator Pan’s SB 276 (Immunizations) Set to Create Seismic Economic Rift

Sacramento – In an effort to retrofit his controversial bill SB 276, Senator Richard Pan recently made amendments that would send prohibitively expensive shockwaves through state agencies, schools, and families of medically vulnerable children.

SB 276 heads to Appropriations on Wednesday, where the committee will determine if and how the newly amended bill could be made fiscally viable. The new amendments include utilizing the state’s California Immunization Registry (CAIR) databases to track medical exemptions, limiting doctors to writing a maximum of five medical exemptions per year before being placed under review, and perhaps grandfathering in existing exemptions.

Upon further examination, these amendments add complexities to SB 276 that only serve to increase costs, add liabilities to state agencies, and compromise the best practice of medicine, all while depleting the California General Fund. In short, the negative impacts of this costly bill will far outweigh any of its perceived benefits.

Pan’s amendments thus far have served up a tsunami of financial implications. While Senator Pan has underplayed the cost at $2.5 million, the actual cost considering all ramifications of this bill is much greater.

A Voice for Choice Advocacy estimates the cost of SB 276 to be in excess of $50 million in the first year and in excess of approximately $35 million in each subsequent year, with an additional estimated $650 million potential loss in school ADA (average daily attendance) and/or $5 billion potential increased healthcare costs.

All to go after an extremely small and unquantified number of “unscrupulous” doctors and to mitigate the 11 cases of measles in California children this year.

There has to be a better, more cost effective way.

“This is not just about loss of privacy and freedoms for families working closely with their physicians,” said Christina Hildebrand, Executive Director of the medical-freedom non-profit A Voice for Choice Advocacy.

“This bill has devolved into a two-headed monster, where on the one hand you have attacks on the doctor-patient relationship, and on the other you have placed liability on the backs of government bureaucrats who now hold the health of children they have never met in their hands. This beast will force families out of California, taking their tax dollars with them.”

The amendments, which were added in response to concerns voiced by Governor Newsom, the California Medical Board, expert witnesses, Assembly Members, and parents, were intended to make the bill more palatable, thus more likely to gain support. With the ever-increasing price tag and magnitude of liabilities, along with mounting objections from parents, it appears they may have the opposite effect.

In its current form, the bill does nothing to address the fact that California already has a Medical Board (MBC) which, given the right authorities, could sufficiently address all of the concerns addressed by SB276, at significantly less cost, liability, and risk to the small minority of vulnerable children with medically-necessary exemptions.

In what he called a preventative measure in response to a measles outbreak (11 cases in children) earlier this year, Senator Pan introduced SB 276 with the intent of holding “fraudulent doctors” responsible for “selling” medical exemptions. Overshadowing these unsubstantiated allegations is the financial impact of what amounts to a bureaucratic behemoth, one that discriminates against a medical minority whose doctors determined were at risk of injury from government-mandated medical procedures.

Senator Pan appears to be unmoved by the moral and ethical objections of this minority, seeking instead, on the basis of unsubstantiated fears, to intervene in private doctor-patient decisions.

While we all desire to protect people from infectious disease, there is no compelling evidence that SB 276 would advance that objective. Rather, this bill draws a prohibitively expensive fault line between theoretical intent via the depletion of scarce public funds, and an assault on already precarious public confidence.

The multifaceted attack on California’s medical, educational and moral institutions unveils the extreme nature of SB 276. Rather than moving us into a bright new future, it sets California back on its heels, harkening back to historic human rights violations protected by the Hippocratic Oath, the Nuremberg Code, and common decency. SB 276 is set to make an unprecedented, unnecessary, expensive leap to the wrong side of history.

Attached: A Voice for Choice Advocacy’s SB276 Fiscal Analysis
Press Contact: Christina Hildebrand,
A Voice for Choice Advocacy, Inc.

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