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Tuesday Aug 28, 2018

And Down the Stretch They Come

"I'm a Sooner born and Sooner bred; and when I die, I'll be Sooner dead."
-- Boomer Sooner

[red white and blue vote buttons]

Labor Day, by tradition, marks the end of summer. There is time for one last weekend at the beach, at the pool, on the golf course, or to enjoy a backyard barbecue with family and friends. After Labor Day, kids return to school (if they haven't already), days start to get a little shorter, and your favorite team of destiny kicks off the fall season. Football fans in Norman, Okla., are optimistic that the 2018 Sooners may make a deep run. We shall see. In the meantime, I hope you have had a great summer and that you enjoy your fall Saturdays (unless you live in Austin, and, well, you know).

Labor Day also marks the start of election season. The roughly 60-day sprint from Labor Day to Election Day is always important, eventful and full of surprises. I predict that the 2018 midterm election season will be competitive, expensive and quite divisive. If you live in a state with a competitive Senate race, you may want to stop watching television for a couple of months to avoid the bombardment of political advertising that already has started.

In this midterm election, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be on the ballot, as well as 35 Senate seats. In addition, 36 states will be electing governors.

The presidency is not on the ballot. Historically, the president's party loses congressional seats in midterm elections. The obvious question is, will the Republican party lose control of one or both chambers of Congress? Early data point to a split decision. Based on recent polling, Democrats likely will win a majority in the House of Representatives, but Republicans will maintain control of the Senate.

Vox has a guide to the 2018 midterm elections(www.vox.com) that provides information on the various races, some analysis on what is motivating the electorate and a few predictions. It's an excellent resource.

Political engagement is one of three pillars of the AAFP's advocacy strategy. The other two are member advocacy engagement (through the Family Medicine Action Network) and direct lobbying (through our professional staff). Each of these activities is important, but collectively they are the foundation of the AAFP's successful advocacy program.

The AAFP, through FamMedPAC, is an active participant in the political process at the federal level. FamMedPAC is a nonpartisan political advocacy organization representing family physicians and family medicine. Our political engagement is driven by the AAFP's policies and advocacy agenda -- not partisan, ideological standards. We are committed to helping members of Congress and candidates who demonstrate a commitment to reforms that are beneficial to family physicians and the patients you care for. Plain and simple.

Participating in the political process can appear improper to some. I understand that the urban legends surrounding political engagement don't always portray politics in the most flattering light, but I can assure you that it's not as bad as your neighbor tells you, and it is extremely important. I am always hesitant to use this blog to solicit support for FamMedPAC, but I would encourage each of you to join us in our advocacy efforts by supporting this important work. If you are interested in supporting FamMedPAC, you can do so online.  

Oh, and please make sure you are registered to vote -- and then actually vote in November. To find information regarding registration and voting requirements in your state, I recommend Vote.gov.(vote.gov)

I am taking a couple of hours off this week, but I will be back with you after the holiday weekend. I hope each of you has a great Labor Day. During the next few days, reach out to a neighbor, friend or family member. Isolation is a growing problem,(healthjournalism.org) especially among the elderly.

Wonk Hard

In my previous two posts, I focused on the 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program. Last week, you should have received a letter from AAFP President Michael Munger, M.D., outlining our analysis, views and opinions on this proposal.

The AAFP continues to analyze the proposal and prepare our formal comments. If you have comments or recommendations on the proposal, please email me at smartin@aafp.org and include "MPFS2019" in the subject line. I welcome your thoughts.

Posted at 12:00AM Aug 28, 2018 by Shawn Martin

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Shawn Martin, AAFP Senior Vice President of Advocacy, Practice Advancement and Policy.

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The opinions and views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions and views of the American Academy of Family Physicians. This blog is not intended to provide medical, financial, or legal advice. All comments are moderated and will be removed if they violate our Terms of Use.