National Advocacy Conference - Monday's Sessions
Compromise necessary to address nation’s budget crisis
While political gridlock and budget woes have defined American politics in recent years, does the immediate future hold any promise for change? Chuck Todd, NBC News’ political director and chief White House correspondent, offered insight into what the next six months might look like during a featured address Monday.
Chief among Todd’s analysis was the approaching federal budget sequester. Scheduled to take effect March 1, the sequester will slash federal funding for defense and domestic programs, harming the economy and eliminating jobs, Todd said.
“The inability of Congress to pass a real budget has real-world consequences,” Todd said, noting the negative impact the sequester’s 2 percent cut to Medicare payments would have on physicians’ practices.
While Congress needs to act in the next few weeks to stave off these cuts, Todd speculated that the partisan nature of politics in the nation’s capital likely will prevent lawmakers from reaching a solution.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle are avoiding compromise, Todd said.
“They see compromise as a capitulation, not a victory for both sides,” he said. “If you want to get stuff done, then there has to be a voting incentive” to compromise.
Todd does see some hope for resolution of the budget crisis, however. As with the general public, there is exhaustion over the nation’s debt-ceiling issue among Congress, Todd said. The president likewise wants to move on to other priority issues, and Republicans are interested in spending more time repairing the party and preparing for the next presidential race, he said.
What remains uncertain is how long it will take Congress and the White House to resolve the budget problem and what that solution will look like.
AMA leaders highlight pressing topics in medicine
As the AMA National Advocacy Conference kicked off Monday, physician leaders discussed some of the biggest issues facing the profession today. AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, AMA President-elect Ardis D. Hoven, MD, and AMA Board of Trustees Chair Steven J. Stack, MD, shared their perspectives on issues ranging from public health to practice technology. Among the topics discussed were preventing gun violence, supporting sustainable practices for all physicians, addressing prescription drug abuse and helping relieve physicians’ regulatory burdens.