Democrats in the California State Assembly are being accused of using the state budget to execute retribution against opponents of highly contentious vaccine mandate legislation.
Senate and Assembly Budget Subcommittees have each approved restoration of six of seven currently unfunded optional Medi-Cal benefits. The only benefit not to be restored is chiropractic services, reports Capitol Public Radio (CPR). The California Chiropractic Association (CCA) was among the vaccine mandate’s opponents.
Adding chiropractic would only add an estimated $257,000 to a $15 million budget, as detailed in Assembly Subcommittee and CPR records.
The CCA has come out in opposition to the vaccine mandate, which ends parents’ “personal belief” prerogative to opt their children out of one or more vaccinations. The CCA joined a wide array of parents and contingent of legislators opposing SB 277.
If the bill becomes law California would join just two other states that deny both personal belief and religious belief waivers.
“As an opponent to SB 277 (Pan/Allen), I am hopeful that the opposition of chiropractors to the bill was not part of the rationale for excluding chiropractors from Med-Cal provider rate proposal,” read a letter printed on Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen’s letterhead, signed by Assembly member Shannon Grove (R-Modesto), and later published by CPR.
Only 2.54% of California Kindergarteners had personal belief waivers on file at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. That is a voluntary decrease from the prior year and follows passage of AB 2109, which requires health professionals to discuss the benefits and risks of vaccines while retaining parental choice.
Legislators popped up with multiple vaccine bills after a measles outbreak that began last December in Anaheim’s Disneyland theme park. SB 277 recently passed the State Senate and awaits consideration by the State Assembly.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana