Category Archives: Advocacy

Our Nation’s Primary Care Academic Infrastructure: What Is Needed to Protect it During Obamacare “Repeal and Replace?”



Hope Wittenberg, MA Director, Government Relations

When one thinks of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the major tax and coverage provisions required by insurance come to mind. Efforts by the new Trump Administration and Congress to repeal the ACA will obviously have a tremendous impact on these features of the law.

What is less known is other provisions of the law, many of which have an impact on academic family medicine–they affect workforce or primary care research, or both. These issues do not have large constituencies behind them–we may be alone or in slim company trying to maintain key portions of the law that impact our academic infrastructure.

Academic Primary Care Provisions in the Affordable Care Act

  • Establishment of payments for training provided to Teaching Health Centers, rather than hospitals
  • Reauthorization of Title VII Primary Care Training and Enhancement with an emphasis on the patient-centered medical home
  • Primary Care Extension programs to assist primary care practices regarding innovations and best practices
  • Medicare Graduate Medical Education (GME) provisions supporting community-based training within the confines of historic GME
  • Establishment of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Outcomes Institute (PCORI), to improve patient care and outcomes through comparative clinical effectiveness research
  • US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) gained a new requirement that private insurance plans cover recommended preventive services without any patient cost-sharing

A Campaign We Must Not Lose

Assuming others will make the case for us is not an option. Working in partnership, STFM and the other CAFM organizations, along with our members, will need to actively engage on our key issues. If each of us does not get involved, we may not have the political might to support our position(s.) We do not have the luxury of large population size to assume that others will make the case for us. Members of Congress need many voices educating them about what we know–that the overall health of a population is directly linked to the strength of its primary health care system and workforce.  They need to hear why each of these provisions is important to the primary care infrastructure of the United States.

Continue reading

STFM Member Bikes Across the Country, Recording Small Town Health Care Access Stories

Paul Gordon, MD, MPH recently started his two-month bicycle tour from the Washington, DC to Seattle,  stopping along the way to learn what people think of the Affordable Care Act.  On his journey, called the Bike Listening Tour, Dr Gordon will visit small towns across the nation and record interviews with locals about their thoughts on the Affordable Care Act.

Watch the video below to hear from Dr Gordon about his trip.

To learn more about the Bike Listening Tour and to follow Dr Gordon during his trip, read his blog at

Med School Gap Year: One Student’s Journey Advocating for Health Care

Stanford Tran

Stanford Tran

While my medical school classmates were deep in their sub-I’s, I took a year off and spent my days being chased off parking lots by grocery store managers. I often wondered what I was doing and how did I manage to drift so far from medicine.

I found myself in this unenviable position by trying to change the health care landscape. Health care in America is fragmented, expensive, and often ineffective. This has been self-evident for 20 years, yet the problem is getting worse. We have a health care system shaped largely by government policies and government dollars, and, conversely, we have a federal budget that is shaped largely by health care spending. Since I wanted to be an agent of health care reform, I thought the obvious way to do that was to run for a seat in the House of Representatives.

Sure, it is unconventional to run for federal office as a first-time candidate, to have no money or donors, and to have lived in the district for less than 3 years, but these are, in medical lingo, soft contraindications. The mechanics of running for public office is pretty much the same no matter which office—you spend your days begging for votes or for money, which in turn helps you beg for votes. You get the distinct feeling of being a panhandler, replete with being chased off from grocery stores. The only difference is that as a candidate, you are better dressed. People innately realize this because while many are politically opinionated, few ever imagine slumping to the level of a political candidate.

Continue reading