By H. Scott Smith, JD – AMS Director of Governmental Affairs
With the primary elections scheduled for this Tuesday, May 24, 2022, physicians still have time to make a positive impact for organized medicine by taking two quick and easy steps. First, find out who’s running for the state legislature in your area. At the end of 2021, the Arkansas Legislature voted to approve new districts based on the 2020 census. To find out what district you’re in, visit ARKMED.org/advocacy to search for your proposed district to determine who is running. Second, contact them and ask, “How can I help?”
You may ask, “What have I just opened myself up to? Am I going to have to make a speech or spend hours and hours walking the streets or licking envelopes?” The answer is easy – no, you won’t. Your initial contribution will most likely be financial to offset campaign expenses, and then you’ll be asked to put a sign in your yard or office. EASY. There are so many ways to help…and that kind of basic help will be needed and appreciated by every single candidate. There IS NO GOOD EXCUSE not to offer to help.
While nothing is guaranteed, the more physicians are involved in helping with elections, the more victories the House of Medicine will have. Whether dealing with bills to help physicians address bad insurance company tactics or non-physicians’ attempts to practice medicine, patients are protected when physicians help friends of medicine get elected.
What is truly at stake when someone not adequately trained in medical school and residency goes to the Capitol and advocates for legislation allowing them to practice medicine? How many citizens could be hurt? What is medical school and residency for, if not to provide training for the safest and most effective care to the citizens of the state? Who best to educate legislators on the merit of medical training than those who have gone through it? It’s you – the physician.
Medicine is not partisan. AMS supports incumbents who have either already supported physician-friendly legislation, or new candidates who have communicated their desire to support such issues. While your financial contribution to ArkMed-PAC is crucial to helping elect physician-friendly candidates, YOUR direct involvement in helping YOUR LOCAL candidates is just as important.
Yes, you can talk to your legislator during the 2023 legislative session about the challenges of taking care of your patients, but when you meet with that candidate today and help them get elected during their race now, you identify yourself to them as a person of influence. When that happens, your legislator will be a little bit more eager to listen and give your thoughts more weight when critical decisions are being made during the session. Those relationships must be built now…today…NOT AFTER the primary election in May or after the general election in November.
You have insight and advice that can truly be helpful to candidates. Start that dialogue today, before the November election. Let them know what’s important to you today and help them in their campaign today with a yard sign and a financial contribution.
You can do this…and we can help. Our hope is to be a resource, a plug and play…point and click…place to get information to help quickly and efficiently. Visit ARKMED.org/advocacy for advocacy information or you can email me at email@example.com and we will gladly assist in your efforts.
Physicians are being challenged from all directions and just watching from a distance will not help in overcoming those challenges. Step up and help all Arkansas physicians by being involved during the election process. It’s as easy as 1, 2.