“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” ― Thomas Jefferson
At the MHA, we often say that politics is not a spectator sport. It requires continual engagement and relationship building so that when you are in a crisis and need assistance, you have trusted friends you can turn to. Look no further than the pandemic and the numerous bills and policies considered and enacted that helped hospitals and health systems during extremely challenging times. As an association, we are very appreciative and value the help we received from both the administration and legislature – at both the state and federal level – during that time.
This Election Day is a vital component to our healthcare priorities, as it includes the state’s gubernatorial race, followed by attorney general, secretary of state, all 13 U.S. House of Representatives seats, all seats in both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives, two Supreme Court seats, three ballot proposals and local races.
As you can see, this year’s ballot is packed with important races that will determine the outlook of our state and nation’s political landscape for the next two years or more. In addition, several factors, including redistricting, have made for a number of highly competitive races. As a result, many observers believe that control of each chamber may be at stake.
Through our concerted efforts, the MHA HealthPAC has grown to become one of the largest political action committees in the state and is one of the important tools in our advocacy toolbox. And whether it is through HealthPAC, or through our many other activities, the MHA has a long history of remaining nonpartisan while highly encouraging all Michigan residents, particularly those in the healthcare community, to participate fully in the political process – and at no time is this more important than election season. Elections have consequences and the best way to ensure that our needs are addressed in the future is to use your constitutional right to vote for the candidates that best represent your values.
Healthcare is influenced by all three legs of the public policy stool – the executive branch, legislative branch and judicial branch. The Michigan medical community needs people in office at every level who understand their role in policy decisions that affect healthcare. The challenges facing hospitals are numerous and significant, such as financial viability, healthcare workforce restoration and wellness, behavioral health and health equity. Our elected officials are critical partners for identifying and implementing solutions to these issues.
Before completing your ballot, make sure to do your research. As always, we are pleased to share a series of useful resources on the MHA website. In addition, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan has over 100 years of experience providing non-partisan, independent analysis on governmental policy and are another valuable resource when evaluating this year’s ballot proposals.
And while this election may change the political landscape of Lansing and Washington, D.C., it will not change the intensity or commitment of the MHA and our team at the MHA Capitol Advocacy Center towards our advocacy and policy work. Following the election will be a lame-duck session that could see a lot of activity prior to the end of the calendar year. In addition, once this year’s elected candidates are sworn into office, we will continue to meet with and identify healthcare champions that will be important partners towards improving the health and wellness of all Michiganders. And because of term limits, there will be a lot of them. One example: there will be over 50 new members of the Michigan House, all of whom will need to be educated and informed of the many complex issues in the healthcare domain.
Whether you’re planning to vote by absentee or in person on Nov. 8, you’re making a critical contribution to our democratic process. Every vote matters, particularly for the future landscape of healthcare.
As always, I welcome your thoughts.