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In California, doctors face greater scrutiny while patients face diminished choice. Will it work? (Photo: Halfpoint/Shutterstock)

New California Law to Punish Doctors for ‘Covid Misinformation Conduct’

‘Proponents are unable to cite a single example of a harm that could be prevented’

By Katy Grimes, January 3, 2023 7:47 am

When seeing a doctor in California now, it is important to understand that you are now visiting a servant of some politicians, not an evidence-based medical professional, a doctor posted on Twitter.

Effective January 1, 2023, Assembly Bill 2098 authored by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, is to circumvent due process against doctors over “Covid misinformation conduct.”

AB 2098 will punish physicians and surgeons for “unprofessional conduct” for advocating for the potential benefits of early treatment with off-label drugs, or those who dare to ask questions about COVID vaccine safety.

“There is no jury voting on this,” Dr. Pete Mazolewski told the Globe in September. “This is a California Medical Board decision.”

Gov. Newsom could have vetoed the bill, which is likely unconstitutional.

Assembly Bill 2098 would empower the Medical Board of California to go after the licenses of physicians who disseminate “misinformation” or “disinformation” regarding Covid-19. The bill in its latest iteration defines misinformation as “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus contrary to the standard of care.”

Who decides what is “Covid misinformation?”  California’s Medical Board, which is currently made up of 12 individuals: 6 Medical Doctors, 3 attorneys, a Public Relations consultant, an “Ethics Reformer,” and a Life Coach.

Under AB 2098, doctors would be subject to disciplinary actions by the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California if they do not adhere to the “approved COVID treatment consensus.”

Who approves the “consensus,” Dr. Pete asked. The medical board? Public health officials? Neither the members of the Medical Board nor all of California’s public health officials are licensed medical doctors.

Does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decide “approved COVID treatment consensus?” Even CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recently admitted her agency’s failures during the COVID-19 pandemic during a message to her staff in August. ABC reported, “To be frank, we are responsible for some pretty dramatic, pretty public mistakes. From testing, to data, to communications,” Walensky said.

As attorney Laura Powell of Californians for Good Governance noted, “Since AB 2098 explicitly restricts speech based on its content, it is presumptively invalid. The bill does not address the problem identified. The bill’s authors and supporters point to the problem of doctors who widely amplify falsehoods about Covid-19, but silencing them would violate the Constitution. To remedy the constitutional problems, it would have to be pared down to the point that it would simply duplicate existing law. Proponents are unable to cite a single example of a harm that could be prevented.”

Dr. Mazolewski also addressed the threat to  “Disseminating information” from doctor to patient. “This ‘unprofessional conduct’ if the medical board disagrees with the information is the loss of a medical license.”

Physicians filed a lawsuit in November against the State of California over the new law, which attorneys say violates the 1st and 14th Amendments.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, and attorney Laura Powell filed a complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction on behalf of five California doctors in Høeg, et al. v. Newsom, et al., asking the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California to prevent AB 2098 from going into effect.

“NCLA represents five physicians licensed by the Medical Board of California (MBC), most of whom treat patients on a regular basis. Drs. Hoeg, Duriseti, Kheriaty, Mazolewski, and Khatibi allege Assembly Bill (AB) 2098, signed into law on September 30, 2022, violates their First Amendment rights to free speech and their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process of law,” the NCLA said in a statement. “The law not only interferes with the ability of doctors and their patients to freely communicate, but it has already been used as a weapon to intimidate and punish doctors who dissent from mainstream views. Several Plaintiffs have experienced threats from other doctors and individuals on social media to use AB 2098 to have their licenses taken away, an obvious attempt to suppress the doctors’ speech. They are being put between a rock and a hard place, fearing repercussions for acting in their patients’ best interests by honestly giving them the information they believe their patients need in order to make informed care decisions.”

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21 thoughts on “New California Law to Punish Doctors for ‘Covid Misinformation Conduct’

    1. I’m waiting for the lawsuits. One will most likely end up being murder charges against the CDC, some doctors and the drug manufacturers.

  1. Appreciated attorney Laura Powell’s succinct summary of the toothlessness of this. I hope her group and the other civil liberties group will prevail in their argument for a preliminary injunction, which would be a much-needed halt to the insane power trip of AB 2098 until it is sorted out in the courts, including the higher courts. Sorting out could take a long time, and time is not something that many patients have.

    Now what remains is for patients to attempt to convince their physicians, perhaps using the information in this article, that kowtowing to the state and its astoundingly silly “medical board” is, in the end, not necessary. We know, though, that most will not be convinced. This is not exactly something patients should have to take on, in addition to worrying about their health, and we can’t “make them” (the physicians) be sensible and brave anyway. It also seems somewhat pointless, in that our distrust would apply to ALL of the advice offered by such a physician, not just what is Covid-related.

    Heck if I know, though, how —- in the present environment —- we would go about finding sensible physicians with guts (to replace the intimidated ones) who are also reasonably close to where we live, as opposed to 50-75 miles away. If anyone has any tips about the best way to find such a physician, I hope you will consider sharing that information here. It would be very much appreciated.

    1. Agreed! This law will now make me trust a Dr’s advice…..how do we know they are not just telling us what they have to just to save/cover their ass?
      And how does Newsom keep getting away with signing these ridiculous bills? Then has the nerve to go out and tout that California is a “free” state?

  2. The Democrats have been spewing disinformation on COVID from the beginning, and now the truth is coming out. I know Communism when I see it, and this bill is Communism. Democrats are disgusting, despicable, liars.

  3. No doubt Assembly Bill 2098 authored by Democrat Assemblyman Evan Low and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom is a blantant violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments, but that doesn’t stop lawless Democrats? Hopefully the Supreme Court will strike down this unconstitutional law ASAP? Some of us wonder if Assemblyman Evan Low, Gov. Newsom and other Democrats in the legislature who voted for this bill received payoffs from some source? Maybe the World Economic Forum globalist cabal?

  4. I cannot imagine how an independent physician with years of experience that has gained the trust of his/her patients will be able to navigate medicine with such vague and arbitrary restrictions. This will push more practitioners into early retirement or leave the state.

    [Who decides what is “Covid misinformation?” California’s Medical Board, which is currently made up of 12 individuals: 6 Medical Doctors, 3 attorneys, a Public Relations consultant, an “Ethics Reformer,” and a Life Coach.]

    Can you imagine, after many years of education and fulfilling the requirements of an updated medical license every 2 years that they can then lose it for giving a science based medical opinion. The kicker is that one of the medical board representatives that can make you or break a doctor’s career is a LIFE COACH! I have nothing against a life coach but how are they qualified to make such a career ending decision? The doctor is not some failure to launch 40 something living with Mom and Dad!
    Again, can someone explain to me how a public relations consultant or life coach is qualified to be on the California Medical Board?
    I agree this is unconstitutional and in violation of the first and fourteenth amendment.
    Maybe the censored physician should consider a career change to LIFE COACH????????

      1. Unfortunately the AMA has lost its mind, too. From August, 2021:
        “The length by which the AMA has strayed from its original goal of promoting the science of medicine is perhaps best illustrated by its recent decision recommending that birth certificates no longer include the gender of the newborn.”
        “The American Medical Association’s Birth Gender Folly”
        https://dailycaller.com/2021/08/02/barr-the-american-medical-associations-birth-gender-folly/

    1. Ugh, the backgrounds of members on the California Air Resources Board. For example, Democrat Phil Serna, Jr. is Sacramento County Councilman for District 1 but he’s also on the California Air Resources Board having been appointed by former Gov. Brown in 2013. After graudating with a degree in city and regional planning from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, he immediately went into Democrat politics like his father. Other than being a radical leftist Democrat who pushes the deep-state WEF globalist agenda, what qualifications does Phil Serna, Jr. have to dictate policy for millions of Californians?

    2. Sure, blowing a gasket on a daily basis is like my morning coffee. It gets me going…
      Thanks CD9!

  5. The problem is the majority of doctors buy into this nonsense. All one needs to do is dangle a “patient safety” shiny object in front of them, and they agree to all manner of oppression.

  6. This is a medical board is it not? Keep the 6 doctors and send the 6 other yahoos packing. Add some nurses and medical research professionals. Have Newsom and his political hacks delve into something else which would probably do harm to other segments of American society. This is a despicable scenario for CA and the entire nation.

  7. Has Evan Low or Richard Pan every done anything in their political careers that did not result in profits for the pharmaceutical industry. For a little bit of cash they will let you shove your hand up their behinds and control them as a politician puppet. They are are a disgrace and I hope all those who voted for these cowards take all the shots and boosters they roll out.

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