Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California doctors lobby lawmakers for mandatory vaccines

A dose of the mumps-measles-rubella, or MMR, vaccine.
A dose of the mumps-measles-rubella, or MMR, vaccine. AP/The Wichita Eagle

The California Medical Association is holding its annual lobby day at the Capitol. After kicking off the morning with a keynote address from state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, 9 a.m. at the Sheraton Grand Ballroom on J Street, CMA members will visit legislators to advocate for mandatory vaccines and raising Medi-Cal reimbursement rates.

SB 277, the highly controversial proposal to eliminate personal belief exemptions for childhood vaccinations, is the major focus of CMA’s legislative agenda this year. The bill passed its first committee last week, but with thousands of opponents showing up to testify against it at a dramatic, and at times combative, hearing, it could probably use all the support it can get. SB 277 next appears before the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

The CMA is also lobbying for SB 243 and AB 366, which would raise the reimbursement rates for Medi-Cal providers. Since a cut to funding during the recession, it’s become an annual issue for doctors, who argue that the rate is too low to cover the costs of treating low-income patients.

2 BECOME 1: The proposed $45 billion merger of cable and Internet giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable has raised the ire and opposition of many Californians. As the California Public Utilities Commission considers whether to approve the deal, opponents from consumer advocacy and open government groups, television networks and the Writers Guild of America, West will stage a protest outside a public hearing, noon at the PUC’s office in Los Angeles, where the merger would have the largest impact on customers.

GIRL POWER: Emerge California, an organization that works to get Democratic women elected to office, is hosting a reception to introduce its latest cohort of trainees. De León and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins will speak at the event, 6:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Terrace at the Citizen Hotel on J Street.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, who turns 38 today.

READ MORE: Vaccine fears haunt L.A.’s west side as parents face off over personal exemption rule

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.