Advocacy Corner

Carter L. Alleman, J.D.

Take Time to Vote

“In polite company, one does not discuss religion nor politics as both are deeply personal and private,” or so the adage goes. Politics impact every aspect of advocacy work, whether it is the elected official that is being met or the policy that is being promoted. Within our conversations over the past few months, we discussed the current political climate and how the College continues to promote osteopathic surgeons and issues surrounding payment reimbursement, GME, and the implementation of MACRA. A common question in these conversations was, “what’s Congress going to do,” or “is Congress going to do anything.”  The answer to these questions is Congress is not doing anything unless there is a push by their constituents. If you want to make an immediate impact, go vote.

The 2018-2019 election cycle is proving to be one of the most unpredictable, yet critical U.S. elections in recent years, which is why it is so important to get out the vote. Candidate platforms include proposals pertaining to Medicaid and Medicare, health information technology, research, funding, and many more health care-related issues that have the potential to affect the future of surgery and the surgical patient. Both inside the halls of Congress and locally back home, it is crucial that the College’s surgeon advocates engage with their representatives, educate them about issues affecting their patients and practice, and provide feedback to ACOS.

Despite our strong desire to release a collective groan each and every one of us understands the critical importance of exercising our constitutional right to vote in the upcoming elections.  Like you, I am being pounded by political messages from every direction and mode.  On November 6, it is our democratic duty to listen, analyze, and then choose who we think is best to represent us. There is no short cut. It is hard work and at times we question whether it is actually worth the effort. In the end, we understand that our democracy is predicated on our fundamental act of voting. So, as we endure the bombardment of political messages and images in the remaining days of the campaign, we can take some comfort in knowing that the process will be over soon. 

Legislative and regulatory policies can directly affect surgeons and patients. Members who take action and vote will help to demonstrate the positions of the surgical profession and allow the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons to serve as a valuable resource to policymakers while helping to effect real change in health policy.