AB 2098 gets amended again, and the very minor protection is gone

AB 2098 gets amended again, and the very minor protection is gone

To recap, AB 2098 is California’s attempt to effectuate the Federation of State Medical Board’s call-to-action to state medical boards to sanction physicians for criticizing the mainstream Covid narrative. The bill passed the Assembly and is now before the Senate. It is scheduled for a hearing on Monday, June 27th.

In the last couple of days, I received two notices which raise some questions. First, Monday I received a notice from an activist reminding people that they had until the close of business Monday (June 20th) to submit comments to the bill. Fair enough. But last night at around 11:PM, I received notification from the California Legislative Information email service that the bill had been amended again as of June 21st. This morning, June 22nd, I checked and the hearing is still set for Monday, the 27th. Here is the status report listing the hearing date.

Here is the latest version of the bill with the changes from the prior two versions: https://legiscan.com/CA/text/AB2098/2021

So, the bill was amended after the time for public comment expired. I think that also happened last time. That doesn’t seem fair to me.

So what does the amendment change?

The prior amendment had some weak language in it to the effect that the Board had to consider two factors before bringing charges against a physician for Covid mis (or dis) information.

One was completely meaningless, that the Board considers whether the misinformation was a violation of the standard of care. If the standard of care means what most doctors think, then since most doctors do not question the mainstream Covid narrative, then yes, any doc who questions the narrative and so advises a patient is in violation of the standard of care. So that’s a gimme, i.e., not a real limitation.

The second limitation was that the board consider the harm caused by the misinformation, presumably to the patient. I have argued in prior posts that it was no real limitation to the Board sanctioning doctors because the Board just has to consider it. But I suppose it was better than a stick in the eye.

But not to worry! Both feckless limitations on the Board’s power have been removed by the new amendment. I heard that the Board expressed opposition to even those weak restraints, and so voila, they are gone.

That’s about the only change I see in the new amendment.

The heart of the bill, and the most appalling part of it is the definition of misinformation:

“‘Misinformation’ means false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus to an extent where its dissemination constitutes gross negligence by the licensee.”

The gross negligence part is a meaningless throwaway, not an analytical tool. If you’re giving patients information contradicted by the “contemporary scientific consensus” about something relating to a deadly pandemic that could change a patient’s behavior and increase their risk of being infected, hospitalized or die, you can bet the farm that will be viewed as gross negligence by the Board.

So, there you have it: Under the bill, docs can’t provide advice to patients about Covid unless the advice is consistent with the “contemporary scientific consensus.” If you don’t follow the scientific consensus, if you’re caught, you likely will be subject to Board action (Maybe, see vague comments below.)

That’s what the bill promises anyway. And while I encourage everyone to keep up the public opposition to the bill, with a Democratic supermajority supporting the bill, it’s hard to see how the bill does not pass with just vocal public opposition.

FWIW: I am working on something which might indirectly help stop the bill, something judicial, though not directly related to AB 2098. (The bill hasn’t passed yet, so I don’t think there is a possible direct challenge yet. But I promise you there will be a direct challenge once it passes and is law). If you’ve read my past posts, you’ll understand what I am talking about. I should be able to post about it in the next couple of weeks. So, stay tuned.

And by the way, I am still looking for more Cali docs who are being investigated for “covid misinformation.” If that’s you, shoot me an email.

Rick Jaffe, Esq.

4 thoughts on “AB 2098 gets amended again, and the very minor protection is gone

  1. I would argue that the standard of care is not “contemporary”. It is age old and conventional. I think the contemporary scientific consensus is the current resistance to the Covid vaccine and the contemporary docs looking at all of this.


    1. They will leave and go elsewhere and all Cali will have left is lame docs who go with the gooberment line

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