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    Drs. Stephanie Costa and William Cotton

Policy and Politics for Physicians, by Malcolm Porter, Public Policy and Political Consultant

IMG_0304.jpgThese are unique times both in healthcare and in American politics. As the public policy and political consultant to the CMA, it is my job to support the interests of CMA physicians. I have seen three main reasons why physicians volunteer their time to work on the challenges in both policy and our current political environment:

 1.     Patients. For better or worse, much of patient care is directly impacted by our healthcare payment system. And in the United States, total healthcare payments are split in approximately equal shares between public dollars (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) and private dollars from insurance plans which are federally and state regulated entities. So, if a doctor “cares about patient care”, then physician voices need to be in the decision-making processes about payment regulations.

2.     Physicians’ Quality of Life.  The challenges of being a doctor today are well known. The data on physician ‘job satisfaction’ is sobering, and troubling for the future of healthcare in our country. Government regulations directly impact doctors’ scope of practice and certain professional standards issues. Doctors must be involved in the future of their own profession. It is not an acceptable alternative to leave crucial medical decisions to others without the strong input of physicians.

3.     Civic Responsibility.  Aside from the issues related to patients and the practice of medicine, physicians are a part of our community and have a strong interest in a well-functioning society.  The basic attributes of smart, evidence-based decision-making that physicians seek around healthcare policy, also serve us well in other areas of public policy. Supporting and helping elected officials who base all their decisions on logic and evidence is a goal of most physicians.  

The Columbus Medical Association has a public policy and political action program that tries to help physicians act on these interests and engage in a way that makes a difference.  All CMA physicians are welcome to participate in this work at any time. The CMA will help support your interests, regardless of political affiliation or perspective.
Policy:

Some of the current policy issues that are being addressed include:

  • Price transparency; “Value” based regulations; Access and funding related issues; Maintenance of Certification (MOC); Prior authorization requirements; Scope of practice; Public health; State Medical Board and other regulatory board regulations

We look for ways to make a difference and not to duplicate the work of others. We support the work of any individual CMA physicians, and we work closely with other general medical societies, specialty societies, as well as public health and community organizations.

Our positions on these issues are communicated via a wide range of methods, including direct one-on-one meetings with legislators, providing testimony, written communications to legislators and participation in coalitions with other healthcare organizations

Politics:
High quality elected officials increase the chances of high quality policy decisions. Therefore, the CMA gets involved in the political election process.


CMA doctors have the opportunity to personally interview and make endorsement recommendations on Democrats and Republicans running for the US Congress, Ohio Senate, and Ohio House from Central Ohio.  Additionally, the CMA works to raise funds to make financial contributions to support selected candidates who are aligned with our interests.

For more information, contact Malcolm Porter: malcolmjporter@aol.com