By Lyle Dennis, Cavarocchi – Ruscio – Dennis Associates, Consultants to AASLD
As you know, AASLD has been active in the development of health policy and the funding of health and biomedical research programs for many years. In the current political environment, it is clear that AASLD will be doing more in the future. And everything the Association does can be enhanced by your support and involvement.
There are currently many issues about which AASLD and its individual members are concerned. Some members have varied opinions, but either way, it is important that your thoughts are shared with those who have been elected to represent you in the House and the Senate. Among the many issues being considered at the outset of this session of Congress are:
- The proposal to “repeal and replace” or “repeal and delay” the enforcement of the Affordable Care Act;
- The nomination of Rep. Tom Price, MD, to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);
- The as-yet-undecided funding levels for FY17 (the current fiscal year) for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other key health-research agencies;
- The widely-discussed reform of Medicare and the methodology used to determine physician reimbursement levels.
Anytime you want to weigh in on these issues or any others with the persons who have been elected to serve as your representatives, it is very easy to do:
- First, go to www.congress.gov in your web browser.
- Click on the “Contact your Member” button, which is located on the right side of the home page.
- From there, you can choose “House” or “Senate” depending on who you want to write to.
- You can then click on your representative’s name, which will take you to their website, which contains their phone number and a constituent contact form.
- Then, call or write and make your voice heard.
As a physician (or NP/PA, or other health professional) your voice is important to be heard. AASLD creates opportunities for you to interact with your House and Senate members, but you don’t have to wait for your association to act. By following these simple steps above, you can take matters into your own hands.
The First Amendment to the US Constitution gives the people the right to seek the “redress of grievances” against the government. It is as clear as it can be that this right is also a responsibility. Your knowledge of the impact of the government on health care, health research, and health services conveys with it a responsibility to act. We hope you will not hesitate to do so.