Healthcare's Role in Politics
This week I am going to turn the tables and ask you a
Should we, and by "we" I mean the collective "we" such as
our NP and PA organizations, take a stance on political issues?
More people are paying attention to what we say. We are in
the news and our visibility is at a historical high. As the states begin to
implement the Affordable Care Act we have found ourselves with an unprecedented
opportunity to promote and advance our professions. We have been seizing this
opportunity, and this year we have been very busy introducing legislation and
lobbying our state and local elected officials to ensure we are not left
So when I say "political" issues I don't mean practice
issues. It's pretty much a no brainer that all of us should be involved when it
comes to legislation which could potentially impact our scope of practice,
prescribing, billing or patient access to our services.
What I am referring to is the other hot political topics of
the day - and there is certainly no shortage of them. In any given week if you
turn on the news or read the paper, at the minimum, you will see debate on
immigration, gay marriage, abortion, entitlements and national security. And all
these issues have one thing in common: people are passionate about them.
So should we take a stand on these? I don't mean personally,
but collectively as a profession. Should we weigh in on these matters or should
we stay out of the fray?
Arguments can be made on both sides. On the one hand, some
might say we have an obligation to take a position on the important social
issues of our times. On the other hand these are highly divisive issues. What
do you think?
I am also interested in how far you think we should go in
supporting specific politicians who are highly involved in one or more of these
controversial issues. For example, suppose a senator or representative is a
staunch supporter of NPs and PAs and supports our legislative goals but has also
been very vocal on a particular social issue?
I am interested to hear from you. What do you think are the
pros and cons of extending our political activism?