The California Medical Association, which keeps an eye on all health-related legislation in California, last week released its "Hot List" of proposed health care bills in the next legislative session.
"Given that health care reform continues to be such a big concern, access to care for patients is going to be a big one," said Molly Weedn, director of media relations for CMA. "And we're looking at a lot of public health issues this year, like childhood obesity, for instance."
There are 30 pieces of proposed legislation on this year's Hot List, including nine bills sponsored by CMA.
"That includes the bill on selling sports drinks at school (AB 1746, Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara)," Weedn said, "and a couple of bills to support expanded use of immunizations."
One of the bills that might be overlooked, she said, is AB 589 (Henry Perea, D-Fresno), which is similar to previous loan-repayment legislation, but instead targets potential medical school students from underserved areas, rather than medical school graduates.
"It's another piece that ties into all of this [health reform implementation], and that's finding a real way to make sure students are going to medical school," Weedn said. "In terms of getting providers into underserved areas, they're much more likely to serve in the places they come from. The Perea bill focuses on medical school scholarships, because when you're talking about rural Californians, sometimes with the price of medical school, that just isn't a tangible choice for a lot of those kids right now."
The next session of the Legislature starts Aug. 6. It's a short session; lawmakers have until Aug. 31 to pass all bills before the final legislative recess begins. The governor's deadline to sign those bills is Sept. 30.