The 115th Congress welcomes a new U.S. president, 54 new House of Representative members and eight new senators.
These newly elected officials give the Republican Party control over the White House, the Senate (51-47) and the House of Representatives (241-195).
This new political climate provides the Practice Organization with an opportunity to educate current and new legislators about the value of our profession through Psychology Political Action Committee (PAC). The PAC focuses on issues facing practitioners and educators, such as reimbursement for psychological services, inappropriate barriers to psychologists’ scope of practice and funding for psychology education. Along with our grassroots advocacy, Psychology PAC is a vital tool in addressing psychologists’ concerns at the federal level.
What is a PAC?
PAC stands for "political action committee." A political action committee is a government-regulated organization that anyone can form to raise money for political campaign donations. PACs are formed by individuals, nonprofits and even many major corporations.
How does Psychology PAC work?
Psychology Political Action Committee, or Psychology PAC, is a nonpartisan organization that provides opportunities for members to participate in the American political process. Psychology PAC is an organization with an advisory committee made up of educators and practitioners from across the country and different membership levels. All association PACs are funded by voluntary contributions. Psychology PAC is no different; it relies on the participation of our members.
Who receives Psychology PAC contributions?
Psychology PAC is nonpartisan. It supports Democrats and Republicans alike. From January 2015 through December 2016 Psychology PAC supported 80 candidates, making 54 percent of its contributions to Democrats and 46 percent to Republicans. True to its nonpartisan values, Psychology PAC is committed to support candidates from both political parties who share our vision and values for healthcare.
This year’s priorities
One of the most important issues on the new administration’s agenda is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. If the law is dismantled, it will take away mental health parity protections and Medicaid coverage from tens of millions of Americans, affecting practicing psychologists in the following ways:
- Clients may lose Medicaid coverage if the funding expansion is no longer available.
- Some clients with private insurance provided through a health care exchange may lose coverage, or stop getting help paying premiums or copays.
- Individual and small group health insurers may stop covering mental health services in their insurance policies, or not provide such coverage at parity with other services.
- Psychologists’ own health insurance coverage will be at risk if obtained through a health care exchange that closes.
Congress and the Trump administration may also move to change Medicare to a premium support program, in which beneficiaries would be given vouchers to purchase coverage in the private sector. This could result in seniors paying more out of pocket for health care, especially if premiums increase faster than the vouchers provided. Even absent such a radical restructuring of the program, Medicare changes are likely to be considered in the areas of payment policies and development of new service delivery models.
Over the next 12 months, the PAC will work to ensure that the voices of Practice Organization members are at the forefront of discussions on issues that affect psychology.