RheumPAC—the voluntary, nonpartisan political action committee of the ACR—works to support and elect pro-rheumatology candidates. RheumPAC representatives were busy in May meeting with supporters of the rheumatology community.
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Explore This IssueAugust 2010
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Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), is a co-sponsor of the Arthritis Prevention, Control, and Cure Act (S.984/ H.R.1210). He is a member of the Senate Finance Committee and has a strong voice in developing health policy. Recently, Lisa Imundo, MD, a pediatric rheumatologist in New York City, and David Goddard, MD, a practicing rheumatologist in Brooklyn, N.Y., attended an event for Sen. Schumer in New York City. “We had lots of face time with the senator and discussed a permanent fix to the SGR and funding for the pediatric loan repayment program. He was optimistic about funding for the loan repayment program and offered to have his senior staffer sit down with us,” reports Dr. Imundo.
Ed Herzig, MD, a practicing rheumatologist in Cincinnati, attended an event for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), in Cincinnati. “It was a small group of 25 people, so I had a chance to give some background on the ACR. We discussed the SGR fix, and Sen. Reid agreed that a permanent fix is needed. It was a good opportunity to educate him on rheumatology-related issues,” says Dr. Herzig.
Whom Should RheumPAC Support?
ACR and ARHP members can recommend candidates for RheumPAC support at www.rheumatology.org/advocacy.
Gary Bryant, MD, RheumPAC chair and associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, attended an event for Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) in Washington, D.C. “It was a small breakfast, so we had a lengthy dialogue. With Rep. Lowey’s membership on the Appropriations Health Subcommittee, she is a key player in funding research and other programs. I had the opportunity to discuss the importance of funding the pediatric loan repayment program,” says Dr. Bryant. He also attended a luncheon for Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.). “I sat next to the Congressman during lunch. As the lead republican on the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act, he has always been a supporter of arthritis research and prevention programs,” says Dr. Bryant. He continues, “interestingly, he recently had a family member affected by arthritis, making the passage of the Arthritis Act even more personal. It was a worthwhile event.”
Sharad Lakhanpal, MD, ACR Government Affairs Committee chair, and Stan Cohen, MD, ACR president, are both practicing rheumatologists in Dallas. Recently they met Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Texas), in Washington, D.C., for coffee. “As a physician, Dr. Burgess is supportive of our issues. We discussed our concerns with the ‘bounty hunter’ provision regarding Recovery Audit Contractors and the skyrocketing cost of colchicine. As a friend of medicine, Dr. Burgess recognizes the flawed SGR formula and agrees physician and Medicare patients deserve a permanent fix,” states Dr. Lakhanpal.