Ok everyone, we are on the eve of our second big trip to Washington.
It will never be perfect, but as good as it was for everyone last time, I expect that this one will be even better, because we learned a lot from last time and we'll be a bit more organized, I hope.
Enclosed are suggested talking points. Remember, they are SUGGESTED talking points. You can add your own to the list if you think that there is something missing. Please don't ask us to redo this with your point that we left out. 20 doctors can come up with 21 different talking point lists. This list encompasses 95% of the things that we all seem to agree about.
We have some appointments set up. The Congressmen and Senators know about us and word has gotten around about the last trip and this one. The appointments are a bit more scarce this time as a result. Nonetheless, we will go to their offices and try to get in to see them or their chief of staff or their healthcare team.
I have a list of people coming who emailed me. I do not want to put people's names on a mass mailing to confirm that you are coming. So, I'm going to ask anyone coming to just shoot a 1 line email to me today to confirm that we have you on our list. The reason for this, is because we've divided the docs that we have into 4 lobbying groups and we want to make sure that we have you. If you would prefer to be on your own (not advised), then don't bother replying.
All docs will meet in the plaza in front of the Capitol steps at 9:00AM and we will break into groups. There is one exception, the organizers of the Million med March have a 9:00 meeting and I will send a separate email to them about meeting earlier.
We will meet with Congressmen and Senators until about 11:15 and then head over to John MArshall PArk for the Million Med Rally and March.
We will then meet with Congressmen again after the march.
The weather forecast looks good for Thursday- high of 70, and clear.
REMEMBER THAT EVERYONE SHOULD COME WEARING SCRUBS AND WHITE COATS. THIS IS FOR REAL!!. It makes for an impressive show, and that is why we are all taking the time off from our lives to come to Washington. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you there.
Hal Scherz MD
President, Docs 4 Patient Care
Letter to Congressmen and Senators:
TALKING POINTS FOR CONGRESSIONAL LOBBYING
1. There is no need to rush a bill through just to satisfy a political promise. Healthcare reform needs to be thought out and done carefully. There is only one chance to do this correctly.
2. The problem with healthcare isn’t the care. It is the best care in the world. The quality of US healthcare and the outcomes are being unfairly attacked so that the system can be changed.
3. There are solutions that have been offered to address problems in a targeted fashion that Congress and the White House are not listening to.
4. Access to health insurance is a problem for 15-20 million US citizens. This can be addressed immediately with insurance vouchers and tax credits utilizing the current private insurers.
5. Cost of healthcare insurance is high and needs to come down. This can be done by promoting competition. First by repealing the antitrust exemption that insurance companies operate under (McCarron- Fergusson Act) and by relaxing restrictions on internet sales of healthcare insurance across state lines.
6. Eliminate pre-existing conditions by expanding risk pools and establishing high risk pools.
7. Allow people to purchase their own insurance and receive the same tax breaks as employers. This will uncouple insurance from the workplace and make it portable.
8. Push for Health Savings Accounts to make people better consumers of healthcare resources, which would drive costs down. Other ways to drive costs down would be to have doctors and hospitals post fees so that patients could shop. Eliminate antitrust regulations, Stark regulations, and many other government regulations on doctors which actually drive healthcare costs up.
9. Medical Liability Reform- specialty boards to decide on the merits of cases before they go to trial. Caps on awards, loser pays for frivolous lawsuits.
10. No government run or sponsored health insurance program (public option, coops, insurance exchange, triggers, mandates)
11. No government oversight board determining medical decisions
12. The AMA does not represent the majority of practicing US doctors- only 17% belong to the AMA and most of these are retired, practice academic medicine, are in administration, or are residents and students
13. Our #1 priority is the health and well being of our patients- your constituents (when talking to elected officials)