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“But in taking their cause to politicians, doctors have waged an extraordinary on-the-ground stealth campaign to win over members of Congress. Their professional credentials give them a kind of gravitas compared with lobbyists who are merely hired guns.”

Thanks @NPR for the encouragement to keep going! Sometimes democracy does actually work. Sometimes citizens meeting with their legislators & explaining #EMTALA and the unintended consequences of certain policies to our safety net and emergency care system works.
It’s definitely not a “stealth campaign” though! One of our meetings with an aide was standing in the hall today 😂. We’ve published, done podcasts and tweeted ad nauseam since no journalists seem to care about the details or anything but lurid headlines.
No dark money or lobbyists here. Just us physicians (community, academic, rural, employed) who work shifts #24/7/365. Physicians who know the importance of the work we do. The ways that our emergency care system can save lives and change the trajectory of families.
Actually, it’s been incredibly challenging to be heard. Congress lets think tank “experts” like Brookings and supposedly independent academic economists and “grassroots organizations” like FamiliesUSA testify. FYI: they are all funded by Arnold Ventures & insurance “nonprofits.”
The “grey literature” these thank tanks produce heavily influence the CBO scores. And, as we’ve come to learn, CBO currency is important in DC. And another way of exerting influence on politics.
We have actually had to do it the hard way. Grassroots. Call our legislators. Meetings. Publish. Explain about EMTALA to everyone since the so-called experts were either too arrogant to actually learn about it or were purposefully omitted it.
Physicians have suffered insults from supposedly unbiased Senate aides trying to shame us into silence for the “crime” of participating in public discourse and sharing our knowledge and concerns.
Physicians are persisting, however. Not because we are paid lobbyists or funded by Enron billionaires. Because physicians want to protect our EMTALA safety net and emergency care system from being raided to (further) fatten the coffers of insurance companies.
Physicians have let the “professional managers”, health economists, insurance companies and a host of other middlemen shape healthcare finance and policy in the past. I’m sorry for that. Because look where it has gotten us. We are done being silent and we won’t be silenced.
What drives us? We are the ones who will hold up a sobbing mother as she crumples when we tell her that her child died because of their policy. Or deal with another physician…
“We ask that you stop giving more credence to insurance executives & health care economists that never spend a day in our trenches, than the doctors and nurses that do this for a living.”
“If you have thousands upon thousands of ER doctors warning you about a problem and dozens of insurance companies trying to counter them, you better think really hard about who has your best interest in mind.”…
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