COMPAC announces candidate endorsements
Physicians urged to consider recommendations
by Susan Koontz, JD, CMS General Counsel
Unless you have cancelled your cable subscription and thrown your TV out the window, you are painfully aware that this is an election year. This means that physicians across the state have been hard at work interviewing candidates and helping the Colorado Medical Political Action Committee (COMPAC) make decisions on which candidates to support in the upcoming election.
Through Sept. 14, 2016, COMPAC has endorsed 81 candidates for state and federal office this year. Physicians and all friends of medicine are encouraged to consider the recommendations and, above all, to be sure to vote. This list represents endorsements made by press time; more will have been selected before the election. For an updated list, visit www.cms.org/advocacy/compac-endorsements. For help identifying the candidates running in your district, visit www.cms.org/advocacy/find-your-legislators.
COMPAC does not endorse based on political party. The rules of engagement require COMPAC to have working, sustainable relationships with the public officials on both sides of the aisle who are responsible for setting the course of health policy. Adhering to this rule is an imperative during this time of rapid transformation and upheaval in the medical profession.
Endorsements are made following a screening process that takes into account the views of the local medical community, the position of a candidate or incumbent on medical issues important to the medical society, the demographics of the district, and a candidate’s ability to win. Hundreds of physicians have participated in this process since its inception in the 2006 election cycle and it has proven instrumental in developing relationships between local constituent physicians and members of the Colorado Legislature.
Like other medical societies, CMS must walk a tightrope between the more traditional conservative policy options, such as medical liability, and the decidedly center-left polices that drive health care spending, like Medicaid reimbursement, coverage and eligibility. The basis of medicine’s support takes into consideration the balance of a candidate or incumbent’s views, voting record or anticipated voting record – respecting their constitutional duty to make choices that can’t please every constituency or interest group. The screening process hones in on a pattern of support for medicine and patients. The final endorsement choices are never drawn from a purely partisan or ideological well.
When it comes down to it, CMS is a politically pragmatic organization that advocates for what works in the real world of medicine. This has less to do with doctrine and more to do with the pursuit of evidence-based policies. Political policy evolves and requires revision just as conventional scientific knowledge does – physicians understand this. A great amount of strategy goes into COMPAC endorsements that emphasizes not only the inherent value of physician engagement in the political process, but also one of the most fundamental rules of political engagement: ideological agnosticism.
At COMPAC, your perspective and participation are critical to us. If you haven’t been involved before or if you’re looking to become more involved, COMPAC asks that you consider one of these items on the graduated scale of political activism:
- Join our movement financially, with a modest contribution to COMPAC and the special Small Donor Committee (used exclusively to support candidates who protect Colorado’s stable tort environment). COMPAC funds are vital to the success of our endorsements at the ballot box. Go to www.cms.org/contribute.
- Host or co-host local support events for the legislator of your choice (even if we haven’t endorsed a candidate in that race). Receptions, coffees, block walks, mini-internships, and all the varied means of engaging your legislator/candidate in face-to-face interactions during the election season strengthen those relationships and the mutual understanding that follows.
- Participate in the interview process to endorse candidates.
For more information on any of these opportunities, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for all that you do. Be sure to vote in the 2016 general election.
Posted in: Colorado Medicine | Initiatives | Advocacy