Lehigh County Health & Medicine Winter 2019 - 29

L C M E D S O C .O R G

But you hit a bump in the road in calculating a legislator's success. One of the
two principle things that legislators do is
advocate for their constituents. Legislators
help people in their districts solve their
problems with governmental bureaucracy.
Other than testimonials from grateful
constituents there's very little that can be
done to measure success on the constituent
advocacy ledger. But the legislator who isn't
very good at listening to constituents and
engaging on their behalf probably won't
remain in office for very long.
The second principle duty of Senators and
Representatives is to pass legislation and that
can be measured. The intent of each new law
is to right a wrong that has existed in the
past, create a new opportunity for a progress
throughout the Commonwealth or modify
an existing law that is not accomplishing
the perceived or desired outcome. Health

care legislation that relates to physicians, recorded roll calls on bills and amendments.
who have an unrestricted license to practice Unfortunately, legislation is often introduced
medicine, runs the whole gamut. Physician and moved forward to a vote by the majority
interests spend a great deal of energy oppos- party to send a message to their party base
ing legislation that would change the clinical of voters rather than to pursue real change.
balance and negatively impact the quality The reality is that they don't see very many
of care. But there is also an important role of the bills that are introduced enacted into
for physician advocates in shaping new laws law, less than 10% of them in fact.
that will have an impact on the delivery of
The real drama in the legislative
patient care. In general, legislators respect
the views of physicians on the broad scope process, though, begins after the
of health care issues and introduce a lot of bills are introduced.
health-related legislation. As a result your
One reason relatively few become law
lobbyists are usually tracking at least 300 is that the legislative process is deliberaor more bills during every two-year session. tive by design. The process set out in the
Constitution is designed to assure careful
Regardless of their intent, the 252 state consideration before laws are amended or
legislators introduce an alarming number repealed and before new laws are created.
of legislative bills, an average of 3,624 per That deliberative feature is a hallmark of the
2-year session over the past 10 years or a democratic process. While it can become
total of more than 18,000 during that 10year period. And they have thousands of
Continued on page 30

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Lehigh County Health & Medicine Winter 2019

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LehighCountyHealthMedicineSummer2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Spring20
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHM_Fall19
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/LehighCountyHealth_Medicine/LCHMSummer2017
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