The Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC) is asking county medical society presidents to help recruit 25 percent of their membership to join TEXPAC before the 2012 elections and raise $160,000 by Sept. 30.
"Will you rise to the challenge to ensure our political relevancy, effectiveness, and strength?" TEXPAC Board of Directors Chair Joe Todd, MD, asked in a letter to the presidents. "The 2012 post-redistricting election cycle will be both opportunity-rich and challenging," he wrote. "The results of the 2012 general election will set the tone and tenor of the Texas Legislature for the remainder of the decade. Voters will fill one U.S. Senate vacancy and 36 congressional seats, plus every state Senate, every state House, three Texas Supreme Court, and 41 appellate court seats. The old Chinese proverb (or is it a curse?) comes to mind: 'May you be blessed to live in interesting times.' Interesting times, indeed."Dr. Todd noted that last year, 15 percent of TMA members joined TEXPAC "and helped us elect more physician and alliance members than have ever served in the Texas Legislature at the same time. The results of their efforts were, in a pecan shell, effective."
He said Sen. Robert Deuell, MD (R-Greenville), and Reps. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown), Mark Shelton, MD (R-Fort Worth), and John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), and TMA Alliance member Rep. Susan King (R-Abilene) – along with more than 1,200 physician and alliance First Tuesday volunteers – "were instrumental in staving off disastrous policy decisions our legislature considered. Medicine successfully moved the ball forward on numerous fronts."
For example, TMA:
- Defended clinical autonomy of physicians employed by hospitals;
- Fought off all proposed scope-of-practice expansions for nurse practitioners and other allied health professionals;
- Staved off severe cuts to physician fees in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program that likely would have driven physicians out of those programs;
- Won significant reforms of the Texas Medical Board disciplinary process to make it much fairer for physicians; and
- Protected hard-fought medical liability reforms.
Read more about TMA’s legislative victories in TMA's 2011 Legislative Report Card.
"Beyond these advances, much work remains," Dr. Todd said. "TEXPAC must redouble its efforts educating candidates on the business and practice of medicine. We must work hard to help reelect our friends in the legislature who went to bat for medicine this past session. We must evaluate each candidate's record and commitment to improving the delivery of health care in Texas so we can determine if he or she is the 'right candidate' to further medicine’s agenda. We must continue to put doctors, and their spouses, in the House and Senate, as we have done in each of the last three campaign cycles."
Dr. Todd urges all Texas physicians to join TEXPAC or upgrade their membership, get involved in the political process at home, and educate their patients "about the patient-physician relationship and the forces seeking to undermine it." Visit TEXPAC online to learn about the issues and how to help.
For more information, email Political Education Director David Reynolds.
The Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC) is a bi-partisan political action committee of TMA and affiliated with the American Medical Association Political Action Committee (AMPAC) for congressional contribution purposes only. Its goal is to support and elect pro-medicine candidates on both the federal and state level. Voluntary contributions by individuals to TEXPAC should be written on personal checks. Any corporate funds or funds attributed to individuals or professional association (PAs) that would exceed legal contribution limits will be placed in the TEXPAC administrative account to support political education activities unless a refund is requested. Federal Election Law prohibits TEXPAC from soliciting donations from persons who are not either TMA members or TMA Executive/Administrative personnel and their families. All donations received other than from these persons will be returned.
Contributions are not limited to the suggested amounts. TEXPAC will not favor or disadvantage anyone based on the amounts or failure to make contributions. Contributions are subject to the prohibitions and limitations of the Federal Election Campaign Act.
Contributions or gifts to TEXPAC or any CMS PAC are not deductible as charitable contributions or business expenses for Federal income tax purposes.
Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. To satisfy this regulation, please include your occupation and employer information in the space provided. Contributions from a practice business account must disclose the name of the practice and the allocation of contributions for each contributing owner. Should you have any questions, please call TEXPAC at (512) 370-1361.
Action, Aug. 15, 2011