A Decade of Access to Congress
US government relations activities at the federal level have a huge direct impact on vascular surgeons and the services they provide to patients, many of whom are Medicare beneficiaries with life-threatening vascular disease. One of the best ways to create access to members of Congress is through the Society for Vascular Surgery® (SVS) Political Action Committee (PAC), which enables SVS members and staff to attend campaign fundraisers for incumbent Congressional members and challengers who determine the outcome of health care legislation and the future of vascular surgery.
The SVS formed a PAC in 2002. Defined as a political committee organized to raise and spend money for the election or defeat of candidates, the PAC is legally separate from the SVS. One hundred percent of SVS PAC contributions go to candidates.
The SVS PAC has been a catalyst in accomplishing the following:
- Enacted the Screening Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Very Efficiently (SAAAVE) Act and made it more accessible with the removal of co-pays.
- Averted Medicare pay cuts for physician services the last seven years with small increases or freezes.
- Convinced 18 members of Congress to send letters to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requesting that non-invasive vascular diagnostic tests be exempt from the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) imaging cuts.
- Successfully removed five physiologic vascular lab codes from DRA cuts and averted additional cuts in the health care reform law.
In 2007, a committee of SVS members was created to participate in PAC fundraising and to assess and ensure SVS PAC effectiveness. The committee's goal is to promote health care decisions that favor vascular disease patients and the vascular surgeons and specialists who care for them.
Voluntary PAC contributions can be accepted from any United States citizen. However, solicitation for contributions is limited to individual SVS members, and no corporate contributions are permitted. No individual may contribute more than US $5,000 in any calendar year to the SVS PAC, and PACs may contribute up to US $5,000 per election cycle to political candidates. SVS PAC contributions are not tax deductible.
In addition to raising funds for the PAC, SVS is seeking members who are willing to serve as Key Contacts to Senators and Representatives who serve on the committees of jurisdiction for health care, House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Senate Finance. These SVS members serve as spokespersons for vascular surgery in Washington, DC and at district events.
Updated June 2012