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President's Message from Michael Sequeira, M.D. - October 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Every few years, the opportunity comes along to make a powerful and positive change in the lives, work and futures of California physicians and families. Proposition 56 is one of those transformational measures, and it will appear on this November’s ballot.

Most of us recall – vividly – the battle in 2014 over Proposition 46, passage of which would have overturned the MICRA protections. Not only would this have quadrupled the cap on non-economic damages in malpractice suits, but also it would have resulted in physicians having to shutter their practices and patients being denied critical access to care.

The CMA, in partnership with all of us in organized medicine through the medical society structure, fought hard to defeat Prop. 46 and literally preserve the practice of medicine – and our profession.

This year, together, we have a chance to give Californians the gift of healthier lives and futures by supporting Proposition 56, sponsored by the Save Lives Coalition. This measure has the muscle to dramatically decrease the detrimental effects of smoking, tobacco product use and addiction among our teens, families and communities, but we must agree to stand up to “Big Tobacco” and not believe the spurious and false advertisements that are currently being aired in opposition to Prop. 56.

The San Bernardino County Medical Society (SBCMS) is proud to support Prop. 56, to significantly increase funding for tobacco prevention and education programs, Medi-Cal funding for nearly one-third of Californians, grants for tobacco use research and a long overdue expansion of medical residency positions for graduating medical students.  

Prop. 56 increases the tax on cigarettes and e-cigarettes by $2 per pack and is supported by many prominent organizations and individuals including the California Medical Association (CMA), California School Board Association, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Cancer Action Network, California Dental Association, American Heart Association and American Lung Association, among many others.

Passage of Prop. 56 will ensure that:

  • Young people can participate in programs to help them quit smoking before cancer, dental decay and other disease sets in.

  • Our medical system becomes more balanced and less strained, thereby able to provide enhanced levels of health care to more people at affordable fees.

  • Low-income Medi-Cal patients will receive needed treatment and services, including seniors living alone who need skilled nursing care and young children whose parents have been laid off from work due to disability or who are victims of domestic abuse situations.

  • Medical residents can remain in California and help to fill the gap in our physician shortage.

  • Every young person who doesn’t start a lifetime addiction to tobacco through cigarettes or e-cigarettes will realize a future of health benefits and hope.

In short, passage of Prop. 56 is literally about saving the lives of our teens so that they will have the opportunity to grow into productive, healthy adults and be given a fighting chance to succeed in their lives.

I urge you to vote “Yes on 56” and to get involved by lending your name to the campaign, speaking out at school board meetings or community forums, ordering collateral materials to display or distribute and encouraging family, friends and colleagues to support this life-saving proposition. More information may be found at:

Feel free to contact me if you have questions or would like work more closely together to support Proposition 56. Thank you for your membership in the medical society which allows us to make great strides together.


Michael A. Sequeira, M.D., F.A.C.E.P.
President, San Bernardino County Medical Society, 2016-17

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