By Lloyd Van Winkle, M.D.
TAFP’s senior delegate to the AAFP Congress of Delegates
This year’s AAFP annual session will mark the end of my service as chief delegate from Texas to the American Academy of Family Physicians Congress of Delegates. It is the office that affords one the special privilege of speaking from the floor and participating in debate concerning the broad spectrum of issues that come before AAFP’s legislative body.
Speaking on the floor of the Congress of Delegates is a bit of a heady experience. You rise from your seat and walk to a microphone. Once there, you make sure your thoughts are in order, pause while cultivating butterflies, and wait to be recognized by the speaker of the Congress. Once recognized, you take a deep breath, muster some spit, and identify yourself. I start with the customary statement of my name and state: “Van Winkle from Texas.” You then address your fellow delegates in a manner you hope will be clear and understandable. You would also like your comments to be eloquent enough to persuade others. If you are like me, you secretly pray that at least you won’t sound like an idiot and embarrass your state.more
The long road ahead
By Kaparaboyna Ashok Kumar, M.D., F.R.C.S.
TAFP President, 2009-2010
It’s been more than a month since President Barack Obama’s health reform package became the law of the land, and we’re still dealing with the political and policy fallout. The legislative process and the yearlong debate have been painful, and remind us why it’s often better not to see the making of the sausage. As physicians, we can disagree about the appropriate roles for the market and the government in the distribution and financing of health care, but we should also begin considering the law apart from the partisan battlefield and analyze what its actual ramifications might be for our patients and our practices.
Throughout the legislative process, AAFP was engaged in the debate at the highest levels, working to fend off ideas that would have been detrimental to physicians and patients, and making the case that investing in primary care will result in better health outcomes and reduced cost. Lawmakers heard and understood that message.more