APAPO-PAC is crucial for Medicare payment reform

PAC resources have opened the door to nearly 100 meetings with members of Congress since late 2012.

By Government Relations staff 

APAPO-PAC is dedicated to supporting candidates who are friends of psychology in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and to building crucial relationships with key members of Congress who will support the APA Practice Organization’s (APAPO) legislative advocacy agenda. The PAC allows psychology to integrate political giving — supporting candidates for federal office — into APAPO’s federal legislative advocacy agenda. Our advocacy strategy also includes direct lobbying on Capitol Hill and grassroots psychologists’ engagement with their members of Congress.

With potential Medicare rate cuts looming, APAPO-PAC is a vital part of our 2013 Medicare payment formula advocacy agenda. Political giving opens the door for Government Relations staff to gain meetings and face time with important members of Congress and their staff who are, for example, part of the Medicare payment reform discussion. 

Under the current Medicare payment formula, psychologists are being routinely penalized by a system that increasingly favors services involving higher costs for equipment and supplies. PAC resources provide opportunity for Government Relations lobbyists to let members of Congress know how reduced reimbursement rates and decreased access to mental health care will negatively impact their constituencies.

Recent key meetings where APAPO Government Relations staff met with members of Congress, many of whom are on committees with Medicare jurisdiction, and their staff to discuss Medicare payment include: 

  • June 4 breakfast for Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., ranking minority member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • June 12 fundraising reception for Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., ranking minority member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. 
  • June 13 breakfast for Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare. 
  • June 20 fundraiser for Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. 
  • June 20 fundraising luncheon for Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C. 
  • June 26 lunch for Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., member of the Senate Finance Committee. 
  • June 27 breakfast for Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., ranking member of the Ways & Means Committee.
  • June 27 breakfast for Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the Education & Workforce Committee.
  • July 16 reception and dinner to honor Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • July 25 fundraising lunch for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who chairs the House Republican Conference and sits on the Energy & Commerce Committee.
  • July 31 fundraising lunch to support Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., a member of the Finance Committee as well as the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee.
  • Aug. 1 reception honoring Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • Sept. 10 fundraising breakfast for House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
  • Sept. 17 fundraising luncheon for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. 

The creation of APAPO-PAC, the political action committee for the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) in May 2012, began a new chapter in organized psychology’s involvement in the political arena. Thanks to generous PAC donations, APAPO Government Relations advocates have been able to attend nearly 100 meetings with key members of Congress since late 2012.

On Sept. 16, APAPO welcomed Heather Kaiser as the new PAC director. Kaiser comes from the American College of Radiology where she served as PAC administrator since 2001. Kaiser, along with APAPO staff, will work to build a solid culture of giving among psychologists to grow a successful PAC that will assist Government Relations staff in combatting drastic Medicare rate cuts. 

Political giving through the PAC is just one element of our multifaceted advocacy strategy surrounding Medicare payment reform. Learn more about our additional advocacy efforts in the Medicare Reimbursement & Access section of our Practice Central website.