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Tuesday Nov 06, 2018

State Legislative Conference Offers Insight Into 2019's Top Issues

"Me and all my friends, we're all misunderstood. They say we stand for nothing and there's no way we ever could."
-- John Mayer

 

[i voted button, vote here sign, flag]

Today is election day. On the ballot are all 435 members of the House of Representatives, 33 U.S. senators and 36 governors. I cast my ballot this morning in the great Commonwealth of Virginia. If you have not voted today or during an early voting period, I hope you take some time today to do so. It is a great opportunity to shape the future of our country.

In a few hours (or maybe a few days for a couple of Senate races), we will know the composition of the 116th Congress. Who will lead key committees? Who will be the key players on health care? What health care issues will be on the agenda?

All great questions. Please join us on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 3 p.m. ET for a free webinar featuring a bipartisan panel of political and health care experts who will discuss the midterm congressional elections, the 116th Congress and the actions we can anticipate on the health care stage. You won't want to miss this exclusive insider's view on the elections and their impact on family medicine. To register, simply join the Family Medicine Action Network (FMAN) and sign up for the webinar.

The 50 States and D.C., Too

States are often referred to as the incubator of public policy, and it is true that many health policy ideas originated at the state level. Many big ideas -- such as Medicare, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- were all based, in part, on state laws. In recent years, motivated by a lack of consistent leadership from Congress, states have demonstrated a renewed willingness to take on complicated health policy issues.

Last week, the AAFP hosted the 2018 State Legislative Conference (SLC). This annual meeting brings together physician leaders and professional staff from state chapters to discuss state-level legislative and regulatory priorities for family medicine and to celebrate advocacy successes. This year's event featured presentations from national policy experts on key issues such as primary care spend, administrative simplification, Medicaid expansion, prescription drug costs, rural health and the midterm elections.

One of the highlights of the SLC is the State Legislative Roundtable. During this portion of the meeting, representatives from each state provide a verbal report on progress made, challenges ahead and ways the AAFP can assist them in their efforts. It is a classic peer-to-peer learning opportunity, and it is highly informative. It also tends to have a hint of a therapy session rolled in.

Based on the conversation, these are the top issues state chapters are working on or plan to work on in 2019:

  • Opioids and substance use disorders -- almost every state mentioned its work on opioids
  • Primary care spend -- this is the hottest emerging advocacy issue with lots of activity on the horizon
  • Administrative burden and regulatory reform -- there was a big focus on prior authorization reforms
  • Scope of practice issues related to nurse practitioners, pharmacists and naturopaths
  • Medicaid expansion and Medicaid payment for primary care
  • Preceptor tax credit
  • Continuing certification
  • Direct primary care
  • Telehealth
  • Maternal mortality

There also were a variety of public health issues discussed, with vaccines and vaccine compliance leading the way. I was impressed by the passion of those who spoke. Family medicine is fortunate to have a strong lineup of advocates across the nation fighting for family medicine and patients. If you are interested in learning more and engaging in state advocacy, the AAFP has a large library of state-based policy and advocacy resources available courtesy of the Center for State Policy and Fighting for Family Medicine.

As states ramp up for their 2019 legislative sessions, the AAFP will be working closely with our state chapters to advance policies that promote family medicine and policies that protect family medicine. If you are interested in being more engaged in your state's advocacy efforts, I encourage you to join the FMAN, and then contact your state chapter.

In Memoriam

On Oct. 27, Pittsburgh was shattered by a senseless act of violence that resulted in the deaths of 11 individuals, injuries to many others and a community irreparably harmed by an act of hate. Among the dead was Jerry Rabinowitz, M.D., a family physician who had served the Pittsburgh community of Squirrel Hill for more than 30 years. News articles (CNN,(www.cnn.com)  TribLive,(triblive.com) Haaretz)(www.haaretz.com) written about Rabinowitz describe a humble man with a servant's heart. People in the community were devastated by his loss but grateful they knew him. By all accounts, the world lost a great man and a treasured family physician.

Posted at 08:45AM Nov 06, 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.