WASHINGTON, D.C. — O&P advocates should keep patient care at top of mind when speaking with legislators, according to Mark H. Rayder, JD, who offered advice for a trip to Capitol Hill at the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) Policy Forum, here. Rayder is a health care lawyer with Alston and Bird LLP in Washington, D.C.
Getting through to lawmakers or their staff with a quick appointment can be difficult, Rayder said, which is why patient stories can make all the difference.
“It is important that you leave them with how important you are to some of the most vulnerable people within the Medicare [system] and not just Medicare, but everybody who benefits from your products and your services,” Rayder said. Other topics, such as drug prices, are currently dominating the discussion, he added, “So you have to leave your mark.”
Mark H. Rayder
Rayder said it can take years to develop health care champions within the U.S. House and Senate. “There is no short game here,” he said. “We have to keep coming back.”
Rayder advised Policy Forum attendees to review the names of legislators they would be meeting and make note of their committees. He said the three key committees for health care issues are the Energy and Commerce Committee and Ways and Means Committee, both on the House side, and the Senate Finance Committee.
Oversight committees within both houses have jurisdiction as well, Rayder said, so these committees can do things like push accountability for Recovery Audit Contractors.
Rayder noted lawmakers have a tight squeeze to pass legislation, as 2016 is an election year. He also reminded attendees that lawmakers and their staff may not be well-versed in many O&P-related issues, so language is important. Lastly, he said, lawmakers may not be ready to lead the charge on an issue, but they can still contribute in a small way. He said one way legislators can be asked to support O&P is by sponsoring bills, because additional sponsors help bills get attention from movers and shakers.
“You want to give them solutions so that they can do something positive,” he said. – by Amanda Alexander
Rayder M. Panel #3. Presented at: American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association Policy Forum; April 26-27, 2016; Washington, D.C.
Disclosure: Rayder reports no relevant financial disclosures.