On Oct. 6, RheumPAC hosted another virtual discussion with a member of Congress, welcoming Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD (R-Iowa), to give RheumPAC donors an insider’s perspective on healthcare legislation and an opportunity to discuss ACR legislative priorities.
Rep. Miller-Meeks served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a nurse and ophthalmologist before operating a private practice in Iowa. She was the first female president of the Iowa Medical Society and first woman on faculty of the University of Iowa’s Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Attendees appreciated her clinical background, volunteer experience and perspective as one of the 17 physician members of Congress, as well as the chance to talk with a lawmaker who already understands the issues facing specialty providers and their patients.
After brief introductions, Rep. Miller-Meeks shared the latest updates on healthcare provisions in current federal spending packages. She and attendees then engaged in a substantive, wide-ranging conversation on issues including:
- The status of legislation to expand the medical workforce, including additional Medicare-supported residency positions;
- Struggles for private practices to operate effectively due to Medicare cuts and other modifications to physician reimbursement;
- Possible federal legislative solutions to rein in pharmacy benefit managers;
- Drug pricing policies and Congress’ intent to reduce the rising cost of prescription drugs;
- Congress’ outlook and role in shaping the future of telehealth; and
- The prospect of “equal pay, equal work” legislation, especially pertaining to healthcare.
Overall, Rep. Miller-Meeks recognized the outstanding problems facing rheumatology patients and providers and vowed to work on these issues and educate her colleagues about the importance of legislative fixes for the U.S. healthcare system.
A Seat at the Table
Events such as this one are critical to ACR advocacy efforts because they allow legislators to hear firsthand from providers how Congress can act to improve the lives of their provider and patient constituents. Funds donated to RheumPAC give ACR advocacy staff and volunteer leaders a seat at the table with members of Congress to inform and drive important discussions about relevant healthcare issues and legislation.
RheumPAC is continuing to find innovative ways to connect with members of Congress and hopes to provide additional opportunities for ACR/ARP members to interact with legislators. Visit www.rheumpac.org to learn more or make a donation. Your contributions directly support the ACR’s ability to engage with key stakeholders in Congress and better advocate for the rheumatology community. You can also visit the ACR Legislative Action Center to send messages to Congress on current topics and to begin building a relationship with your legislators.