The need to continue establishing strong relationships with lawmakers in Washington, DC, and across the country remains evident with each new election cycle, particularly in this unique political environment. Among other efforts, since 2002, maintaining nonpartisan relationships with congressional candidates has been a priority for the American College of Surgeons Professional Association (ACSPA) Political Action Committee (PAC), ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC. Review the ACSPA purposes and principles.
SurgeonsPAC remains an important tool that the ACSPA has at its disposal to raise the funds necessary to elect candidates to Congress who understand the plethora of challenges facing physicians and patients (view ACSPA disbursement guidelines). The louder surgery’s voice grows, the more members of Congress listen, resulting in greater success in promoting important advocacy priorities and establishing surgeons as leaders and partners in finding solutions to complex health care issues.
ACS members are uniquely positioned to help shape and message key initiatives to their peers resulting in a broader network of surgeon advocates willing to make their voices heard by policymakers.
As a reminder, during the 2020 election cycle candidate platforms included proposals pertaining to Medicaid and Medicare, health information technology, research, funding, and other health care issues that could affect surgical practice and surgical patient care. The full list of the ACS’ federal legislative priorities is available online. In the 117th Congress, the ACS Division of Advocacy and Health Policy (DAHP) continues to educate policymakers about these and other critical health care policy matters. Additionally, despite SurgeonsPAC reporting a record 92 percent success rate regarding contributions made to candidates who won their elections last cycle, the number of close races further demonstrates that the power of a strong PAC cannot be overlooked and that every contribution counts.
Making an impact
As of November 1, SurgeonsPAC reported the following accomplishments:
- Participated in more than 150 virtual meetings, events, and activities to raise awareness about ACS-supported advocacy priorities
- Hosted 15 fundraisers to enable other specialty societies to engage with key policymakers
- Contributed $221,000 to 80 candidates (52 percent Democrat, 48 percent Republican), other PACs, and political campaign committees (all 2021 disbursements can be viewed by state by logging in to www.surgeonspac.org)
- Facilitated meetings with Fellows and important decision-makers in Congress who expressed an interest in advocating for surgery and surgical patients
- Presented at several industry roundtables hosted by National Journal on fundraising and disbursing PAC funds in challenging political climates
- Organized opportunities for members to participate in local political events, serve in advisory capacities to lawmakers, or meet physician candidates running for Congress
- Cohosted the virtual physician and dentist PAC forum (more than 60 health professionals in attendance) to share fundraising and disbursement best practices, as well as the specialty physician and dentist candidate workshop (November 5) to educate and train health professionals interested in running for public
Prioritizing support for health care professionals in Congress
Consistently recognized as a top PAC (currently ninth of 33) among other specialty societies in Washington, DC, SurgeonsPAC prioritizes directing funds to elect and reelect physicians, specialists, and other health care professionals. At present, less than 5 percent of members of Congress are physicians, which emphasizes the need to elect more medically trained experts. View physician members of Congress.
ACS leadership support for SurgeonsPAC
ACS leadership has demonstrated strong support for SurgeonsPAC this year (see Figure 1). We extend a special thank you to the ACS Regents and Officers, Board of Governors, and Committee on Trauma Executive Committee members, as well as the SurgeonsPAC Board of Directors, for their commitment to 100 percent participation. With the help of all eligible members, SurgeonsPAC has the potential to be the top health care PAC in Washington.
SurgeonsPAC presence on facs.org
To ensure members can more easily learn about SurgeonsPAC and follow through to find out more about fundraising and disbursement activity, including who is eligible to contribute, the PAC recently launched a web page on the ACS website. Surgeon advocates can continue to become educated and contact their legislators via SurgeonsVoice.
ACS members are uniquely positioned to help shape and message key initiatives to their peers, resulting in a broader network of surgeon advocates willing to make their voices heard by policymakers.
As Congress remains focused on year-end, must-pass legislation that will affect surgery, and as ACS staff members engage with lawmakers to encourage their support of pro-surgery, pro-patient policies, surgeon-advocates must play an active role in the process. Understanding the tools and resources available to become more effective advocates for surgery and surgical patients, including access to SurgeonsVo ic e and SurgeonsPAC, is vital. For questions about these and other political advocacy efforts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributions to ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Contributions are voluntary, and all members of ACSPA have the right to refuse to contribute without reprisal. Federal law prohibits ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC from accepting contributions from foreign nations. By law, if your contributions are made using a personal check or credit card, ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC may only use your contribution to support candidates in federal elections. All corporate contributions to ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC will be used for educational and administrative fees of ACSPA and other activities permissible under federal law. Federal law requires ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC to use its best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation, and the name of the employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. ACSPA-SurgeonsPAC is a program of the ACSPA, which is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code.