What a day on the hill! With 350 members of ACEP storming the congressional building, the chance for impact wasa real. Unlike past years where receptions may have been brief, the report from so many was positive. From liberal advocates of total health reform to conservative republicans, the audience this year was bigger than ever.
One of the most surprising interests came from none other than the minority leader, John Boehner’s office. Without so much as an appointment, we were able to drop by and meet with the deputy chief of staff for 20 minutes to discuss the merits of HR1188. This is unheard of for many in the ohio chapter. The reality is that they were interesting in the legislation but also the support that might exist for an alternative to government run universal healthcare. Unlike prior sessions, we had a receptive audience and a place to build from. Other members of the minority party as well as the majority also expressed a growing interesting in the ACEP message.
This leads to the big question, are the Republicans shopping for their healthcare reform alternative? Might the emergency physicians find a home in such a conglomerate of alternative plans? All of these questions still remain to be seen. The reality though is that this was one of the most successful visits to the hill in years. With continued grassroots movements from members like you, there is a real chance that our legislation may find the light of day in congress either as a stand alone, part of medicare SGR reform, or a broader healthcare reform effort. All of these developments should encourage the average physicians to continue the fight. Make your voice heard! Whether from home, DC, work, or play, we need you to speak up and support HR 1188.