California policymakers are facing a busy year, as a Republican-controlled Congress inches closer to rolling back key provisions of the Affordable Care Act and debate over high drug costs continues.
Assemblymember Jim Wood, D–Healdsburg, helps set priorities for health policymaking as chairman of the Assembly Health Committee. The former family dentist represents a 300-mile Northern California coastal stretch that spans from Sonoma County all the way up to the Oregon border.
“If you look at my district, it’s almost a microcosm of California,” said Wood, referring to the mix of rural, conservative communities and more progressive ones like the City of Santa Rosa. Half the medical providers in his district are clinics that have a hard time attracting physicians, he said. Some constituents must travel long distances for medical care.