Worried about the potential of new Federal legislation and executive actions to hurt our patients, and even our own families, Doctors for America - New York (DFA-NY) organized a meeting with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Special Assistant for Community Affairs in Manhattan on January 24. The process was simple: Get a group of doctors together, find out who on the legislator’s staff is responsible for health care issues, send an email and request a meeting. You’ll be glad you did!
Dr. Bruce Rector and Dr. Katherine Scheirman (DFA-NY), Dr. Andrew Goldstein (DFA-NY, Progressive Doctors),and Brian Deutsch & James Blum (DFA-NY and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai medical students, attended the meeting. Representing NY Doctors (@NYDocs), a coordinating group for 25 physician organizations in New York, were Dr. Jonathan Arend and Dr. Marc Manseau from the National Physicians Alliance.
We praised Senator Gillibrand’s strong support for the ACA and women’s health (check out this video), and for her work to lower the rising cost of prescription drugs for consumers. We discussed issues including our opposition to repeal of the Affordable Care and block granting of Medicaid, and our support for Medicare negotiating lower prices for Part D. As the only person in the room old enough to be on Medicare, I expressed my strong opposition to Medicare being turned into a voucher program for seniors.
We told him about Mt. Sinai School of Medicine cancelling all classes for 1st and 2nd year students Jan 25 for a teach-in on the ACA repeal. He told us that he appreciated hearing about actions such as this one.
We asked Senator Gillibrand to work to prevent confirmation of Tom Price, the nominee for Department of Health and Human Services Secretary.
We felt the meeting was very productive, and appreciated the ideas for action discussed that physicians and medical students can take which will have a real impact.
Although it is often difficult to meet with your Senators, because they are very busy and usually in Washington, meeting with and building a good relationship with their staff in your home state can be extremely beneficial to your advocacy for your patients. I would encourage everyone to find the closest office of their own Senators and try to schedule a meeting with their health policy staff.