I am currently in Washington, DC for the Fall Board of Directors meeting for the National Physicians Alliance (NPA). Given the recent election results, this meeting feels more important than ever.
I joined NPA in 2010 or so, and then became a member of the Communications Committee during the time that Affordable Care Act (ACA) was being debated, passed, opposed, sued, defended, and enacted. I later became the organization's Vice President of Communications, and have continued sharing NPA's mission and message as the ACA began providing health access to millions of Americans in the context of better care and lower costs.
NPA focuses on service, integrity, and advocacy, and is guided by principles emphasizing health justice. Health as defined broadly, as more than the absence of disease: it is a state of wellness, and is influenced by the both the medical system and social determinants of health such as the environment, available educational opportunities, housing, transportation, etc.
With the results of the recent presidential election, many of the core values many of us hold dear are going to be under great pressure. If the ACA is repealed, up to 24 million Americans risk losing insurance. Women's access to reproductive health care risks being severely limited. Medicaid expansion would be rolled back as part of the repeal of the ACA, but the Medicaid program could be fundamentally restructured and lead to more coverage losses. Even Medicare, a program which has bedrock support, might be changed dramatically (information here).
NPA is preparing for the fight to come in the next few years. We must protect access to healthcare. We must ensure that women's access to all aspects of reproductive health remains in place. We must ensure that vulnerable individuals, communities, and populations are protected. We must do all this as we continue to advocate for a more equitable and just healthcare system.
The task is daunting, and it appears that the fight will be long and challenging. And: NPA is prepared and committed to be a voice for physicians and for our patients for the duration of the fight. We need volunteers, we need contacts, we need support, and we need funding.
Join us. Membership is free: http://action.npalliance.org/o/1021/content_item/signup.
Support us. Your support allows us to carry out key advocacy work without restrictions from outside funders: https://org.salsalabs.com/o/1021/donate_page/contribute-to-npa.
These are uncertain, frightening times. But it is not the time to retreat. Now is the team to stand up, come together, and tell those who aim to harm our patients and our profession: #NotOneStepBack.