On November 8th America elected a President who ran on the promise to restore government of the people, by the people, for the people (among other things). However, we cannot expect such a government to be handed to us on a silver platter, no matter who resides in the White House. We must build it ourselves, by definition. Government of, by, and for the people requires those people to stand up and do more than just vote every four years, do more than author clever blogs, do more than compose brilliant tweets, post cynical quips, or write constructive comments on the websites of power. Self-government requires informed citizens with a vision to organize, mobilize, and take purposeful action.
For the last eight years, we have engaged in all of the former and none of the latter. We know many of you are in the same predicament. We are the everyday people and frontline physicians everybody in government is supposedly trying to help. We do not entirely doubt the intent, but the end results have been so much less than we need, so much less than the American people deserve, and so much less than we know is possible. We come from vastly different backgrounds. We have diametrically opposed political ideologies. We have a broad and dynamic spectrum of thought for how health care in America should work. This is our strength. We must now build on that asset.
You may be elated by the 2016 election outcome; you may be on the fence, indifferent, worried, depressed, despondent, or positively enraged. Whether you love it or hate it, you cannot deny that something extraordinary occurred on November 8th. Whether you think disaster breeds opportunity or victory itself is the opportunity, let’s “seize the present; trust tomorrow even as little as you may” and try to gain some control over our personal and professional fates.
Call to Action
We would like to propose that we organize a workgroup of physicians and people with interest in health care to create evidence and consensus based guidance and recommendations for the new administration as it undertakes major changes in health care policy, legislation, and regulation. Our initial thoughts are that we create an objective position paper to address the impeding changes to current health care legislation, free of political and partisan shenanigans. Our dreams are that this grows into a perpetual grassroots advisory group which brings real-world experiences, varied points of view, and wisdom from the frontlines of medicine and everyday life into the hallowed halls of government to inform the work of public servants.
If you think the American people and their doctors should have a voice in governance, if you believe the welfare of your patients stands above politicking, and if you want to amplify your voice and the voice of others, please join us. If you think you can contribute a small amount of time to such effort, we invite you to kick start this endeavor. You can remain anonymous if you so choose. You can contribute as much time as you have available. You can choose how, when, and what. Let’s leave the actual details open and brainstorm together how best to move forward quickly.
Are you all in? Would you prefer to dip your toes in the water? Do you realize the possibilities if enough of us come together and collaborate in a meaningful way? If so, please email us at mga111026 at gmail.com. We can communicate via email to set up a conference call and take it from there. We will do the housekeeping, bottle washing, and ashtray emptying to get us started. For those who already expressed enthusiasm (or guarded interest) on Twitter and on this blog and others, retweet, spread the word and let’s make this happen. It’s time.