What is RheumPAC?
RheumPAC is the ACR’s nonpartisan political action committee (PAC) that works to elect and support pro-rheumatology candidates. It is the only PAC dedicated to the interests of the rheumatology profession. RheumPAC was created 10 years ago with the mission of educating, electing and supporting federal lawmakers who understand and can positively address the issues that impact rheumatology care providers and their patients.
Why does the ACR need RheumPAC?
Under federal law, the ACR/ARHP is prohibited from using its general treasury funds to make contributions in connection with federal elections. However, the ACR/ARHP is permitted to form a PAC to provide members with the opportunity to legally and ethically participate in federal election activities. RheumPAC creates opportunities to educate and develop relationships with members of Congress, as well as support champions for our issues and our message. It is the financial vehicle through which ACR and ARHP members can support Congressional candidates who share our commitment to rheumatology.
Why do ACR & ARHP members contribute?
Congress enacts health policies that directly affect our profession and our patients. RheumPAC creates opportunities for the ACR to educate key policymakers on the importance and value of rheumatology. RheumPAC needs your support in order to increase and expand the ACR’s advocacy efforts. We can only be effective when legislators understand the extent and impact of rheumatology-related policy issues.
We often hear, “I don’t get involved in politics.” We are already involved. Elected legislators make policy every day that directly impacts our profession, our livelihoods and our ability to care for our patients. The question is whether or not the ACR and ARHP have a seat at the table for these discussions.
Who receives RheumPAC funds?
Candidates are recommended for support by ACR/ARHP members and our advocacy staff. We consider many factors for candidate contributions (e.g., voting record, committee assignments, leadership, number of members in district, etc.) and make funding recommendations based on available resources. The RheumPAC Committee reviews these recommendations and has final approval of the list of supported candidates. RheumPAC is bipartisan and determines candidates’ eligibility for support based on their past support for policies that directly impact rheumatology or their ability to further our goals in their position in Congress. All U.S. ACR and ARHP members are welcome to suggest candidates for support.
We often hear, “PACs exist only to help one party or another.” Untrue. RheumPAC is truly bipartisan, our only political affiliation is to further the ACR’s and ARHP’s policies. Don’t believe it? Visit the RheumPAC section of the ACR website, which is updated quarterly to list candidates who receive RheumPAC funds every quarter.
Who can contribute to RheumPAC?
U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens who are members of the ACR or the ARHP may invest in RheumPAC.
Does RheumPAC make a difference?
It really does. Some legislative highlights brought to rheumatology through RheumPAC:
- MACRA Flexibility: RheumPAC and its partners successfully lobbied the CMS for options to avoid penalties.
- Flex IT: H.R. 5001 and S. 2822 allow providers in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program to report on a 90-day period in 2017 rather than a full calendar year.
- RheumPAC and its partners successfully defeated CMS’s Part B demonstration project, which would have reduced reimbursement to providers for expensive infusion treatments.
- Patients’ Access to Treatments Act (H.R. 2999): Reintroduced at the ACR’s urging.
On the state level, in 2016 we were instrumental in getting six biosimilars bills passed and four step therapy laws implemented, stopping a coverage change proposed by a payer in North Carolina for steroid injections and reversing a downcoding decision in the Palmetto MAC region.