During this election year, podiatrists across the United States have an unprecedented opportunity to have representation in Congress. We must act now and change our paradigm from expecting others to do the heavy lifting for us.
You must contribute to the campaigns of Lee Rogers, DPM, and Brad Wenstrup, DPM, today, not tomorrow.
I am continually astonished how many of my colleagues refuse to invest back into the profession that puts food on their tables, clothes on their backs and a roof over their head. We have a very realistic opportunity to have two podiatrists in Congress. Our interest will have a voice from within, not looking in from the outside pleading to be heard. How can this not be a good thing?
Dr. Rogers is a candidate for Congress in California’s 25th District. He recently won the Democratic primary and now moves on to the general election, running against Republican Buck McKeon. Although Dr. Rogers is a Democrat and I know most physicians are Republican, I urge you to please look beyond your political parties. Having a Democratic podiatrist in Congress is the same as having a podiatrist in Congress. Here are some of the physician related issues Dr. Rogers supports.
• Replacement of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). This entails a repeal of the SGR and replacing it with an annual payment adjustment based upon inflation.
• Prompt payment law. Dr. Rogers supports federal laws to force third parties to pay physicians within 30 days of submitting claims. If an entity requests additional documentation, they must pay within 15 days of receipt of that documentation.
• Tort reform. This is sensible medical malpractice tort reform that will allow us to reduce frivolous cases and the practice of defensive medicine while ensuring that we do not strip harmed patients of their legal rights and that we penalize problem doctors.
• Eliminate year-long penalty periods. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has implemented year-long penalties for non-compliance with electronic health records or electronic prescription initiatives. Penalties should stop from the effective date when a physician becomes compliant.
• Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The IPAB is an executive branch appointed panel that dictates payment decisions for Medicare. It would require a supermajority of Congress to overturn the board’s recommendations. This is not only unconstitutional but it gives too much power to a panel of appointees who do not answer to Congress.
• Shorten pre-medical training. Our new graduates are strapped with debt. Most countries have shorter pre-medical training than the U.S. We need laws limiting federal Stafford loans to only those medical schools that take a majority of their students with 60 pre-medical credit hours. This gives graduates two more years of income potential to help pay for student loans.
• Any Willing Provider and Freedom of Choice Laws. These laws give patients greater access to the provider of their choice. They also require insurance to pay providers, even if they are non-participating.
• Medical license portability. Medical licenses should have reciprocity between states, just like driver’s licenses. In the European Union, a French doctor can practice in England easier than a U.S. doctor can in a neighboring state. Telemedicine across state lines is, in my definition, intra-state commerce. It should have the oversight of the federal government rather than the complexity of multiple state laws.
• Charity care deduction. Doctors would receive a capped tax deduction when they provide charity care to needy patients.
These are things all physicians should support yet U.S. Congressman Buck McKeon supports the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) Political Action Committee. Could this have anything to do with the fact that both McKeon and the AAOS support the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2011 (H.R. 451)? If this bill passes, it will serve to discriminate against non-MD providers. The American Podiatric Medical Association strongly opposes this bill as does Dr. Rogers. How do you like being discriminated against? How much longer are you going to stand by and take it without fighting back?
To learn more about Dr. Rogers’ campaign, please visit http://www.leerogers2012.com/  .
Dr. Wenstrup is the Republican nominee for the newly redrawn 2nd congressional district in Ohio in the United States House of Representatives. He won the primary, defeating the incumbent U.S. Congresswoman Jean Schmidt.
To learn more about Dr. Wenstrup’s campaign, please visit http://usabrad.com/  .
I have personally contributed to both campaigns and I am asking you to do the same. I usually have about 1,500 readers of my monthly blog. If 1,000 of you gave $100 to each campaign, we could make a substantial difference in those races. This will be the best $200 you can spend to help the profession. Step up to the plate and help these two colleagues.
In the words of the Nike commercials, “Just do it.”
Best wishes and stay diligent.