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December 2017 Advocacy Update: The 2018 Gubernatorial Election
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1/4/2018 at 7:59:58 PM GMT
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December 2017 Advocacy Update: The 2018 Gubernatorial Election

The 2018 Gubernatorial Election

By Elena Lopez-Gusman and Kelsey McQuaid-Craig, MPA

In November 2018 Californians will have an important decision to make: who will be the next Governor of the State of California.


Having a Governor who is passionate about health care has never been more important in California. While repealing the ACA has not yet been possible in Congress, the repeal of the individual mandate seems politically possible, at the time of this writing, and there will undoubtedly be other federal changes to the healthcare landscape. One in three Californians are on Medi-Cal, and cuts, block grants, or other scale-backs to Medicaid would dramatically impact Californians and the emergency care system. How California leads and responds will most certainly affect your practice.


This election also gives California ACEP the first opportunity in decades to work with a Governor who knows and values our organization and understands the role our members have in health care delivery. As you know, Governor Brown has continued to ignore pleas to increase Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates and under his administration the Department of Managed Health Care has failed to enforce network adequacy or go after systemic underpayment by health plans. 2018 will provide a unique opportunity for emergency physicians to work with a new Governor to improve California’s health care safety net.


California ACEP is reviewing the candidates to determine who would be the best ally of emergency medicine. As a part of the process of determining which candidates our Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee (EMPAC) should support, your advocacy staff and Board of Directors is interviewing gubernatorial candidates.


According to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll conducted between October 27th and November 6th, one year from the 2018 election, this is where the candidates stand:

  • Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (D) – 31%
  • Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) – 21%
  • Assembly Member Travis Allen (R) – 15%
  • State Treasurer John Chiang (D) – 12%
  • Businessman John Cox (R) – 11%
  • Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin (D) – 4% 

While California has elected many Republican Governors in its history, the state is increasingly electing Democrats to statewide offices, and unless a Republican candidate with gravitas decides to enter the race, the next Governor of California will be one of the leading Democratic candidates from the field you see listed above. The most recent campaign finance reports, filed on June 30, 2017, show Newsom leading the candidates with $13.1 million cash on hand, followed by Chiang with $5.7 million and Villaraigosa at $4.4 million.


In November the California ACEP Board of Directors met with Mayor Villaraigosa. He spent over an hour speaking with the Board and answering their questions. Medi-Cal provider rates and access to care were clear priorities for him.


On January 9th, the Board of Directors will be meeting with Lieutenant Governor Newsom and we are finalizing a meeting with Treasurer Chiang. This will allow the Board to hear from the candidates and ask them questions about their views on healthcare and the role of emergency medicine. The mere fact that these meetings are taking place signals the importance of emergency medicine to the next Governor of California, and stands in stark contrast to the attention paid to California ACEP by the last several Governors.


After the Board has met with the candidates, EMPAC will endorse a candidate and contribute to support their campaign efforts. We will share the endorsement with California ACEP members, and the public.


Thanks to generous contributions to EMPAC by California ACEP members like you, emergency physicians have become a force to be reckoned with in California politics. Without member involvement and contributions from all of our donors, we will not be able to continue to develop and elect emergency medicine champions.


For more information on how to make a contribution to EMPAC, please contact us at or by calling the Chapter office at (916) 325-5455.

Kelsey McQuaid-Craig, MPA
Director of Policy and Programs
California ACEP

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