Steven W. Remmenga, MD
Health care reform and health care costs have been mainstream conversation for the last several years and continue to dominate headlines and daily news programs as the Affordable Care Act becomes reality. The changes we have seen in health care in the past few years have been staggering and continue to grow on a daily basis. No one is sure where things will eventually end up, but we all know that the landscape of health care in this country will fundamentally change.
While we have focused so much on the reimbursement aspects of health care, other changes will affect graduate medical education, working relationships with non-physicians, and health care research. Even the way we practice will change as pressures increase to switch to a model of large health care organizations and employed physicians rather than private practice, the landscape of American health care in the past.
Physicians in general have never been politically active in comparison to other professional groups, but that is changing. There have been many challenges to women’s health care in the last few years, and I expect this will be an ongoing theme as we move forward. We need to be actively involved in helping our patients not only with contraception issues, which seem to be the dominant focus of most people, but also in areas of prenatal care, well women and primary care, oncology and aging patient populations, our future work force and training that workforce, and research, to name just a few.
ACOG has a federal political action committee, Ob-GynPAC, and the money we contribute to it has been used to gain access to and lobby our elected politicians on important issues that affect our patients and our practice on a daily basis. While Ob-GynPAC has been very active, contributions are needed to fund its efforts. Please consider a donation, even if it is only a few dollars. Every contribution counts, and District VI has been a leader in supporting the Ob-GynPAC. (You will not be favored or disadvantaged by reason of the amount of your contribution or a decision not to contribute. Contributions from foreign nationals are not permitted.)
Every year, ACOG holds a conference in Washington, DC, called the Congressional Leadership Conference, The President’s Conference (CLC), where ob-gyns from around the country meet to learn about and discuss issues important to women’s health. Attendees then meet with members of Congress and their staffs to discuss the issues. It is an intense several days of work that is vital for advocating for our patients and our specialty.
I strongly recommend attending the CLC and/or discussing issues that are important to ob-gyns with our elected representatives. Every section in our district has a legislative liaison who works to advocate for members and their patients at the national and local levels. If there are issues you have questions about or if you’d like information on how you can help, contact your section officers. We need to be proactive as we move forward in the new era of health care in the US.
I look forward to serving as your district chair and will work as your advocate.