Why Go Inside the Beltway?

Are you a political animal?  If not, you may wonder why anyone would want to go inside the beltway.  You may not even have any idea what the beltway is.  It’s a piece of interstate highway – I-495, known as the Capital Beltway – that loops around DC and provides a metaphorical dividing line between the thinking of those inside and outside.  If you live, work, eat, sleep and breathe the Federal Government, you are a Washington Insider, an inside-the-beltway type.  If not, well then, you’re normal, like everyone else.


I’ve been coming here every spring since 1994, trying to get my elected representatives – and, sometimes even more important, their senior staff who are health policy wonks – to understand that emergency medicine isn’t just the center of my universe, but the center of THE universe – and that what matters most in life is that everyone in these United States has access to an adequately (dare I say generously?) funded, high quality system of emergency medical care.


If you do what I do for a living, and especially if you see it (as I do) as not so much a living but a calling, then you understand what I mean.  But people inside the beltway often don’t.  They require much education – and re-education, which means not sending them off to a camp in the Chinese countryside but coming back here every year to reinforce the old messages and add important new ones.  Once you get used to this ongoing need they have to be indoctrinated … I mean informed … then you realize that trips to DC at other times of the year and the occasional visit to the office in the home district can also be useful.  After a while they recognize you and know your name, and you’re on your way to building relationships with your elected representatives.  In politics, as in so many other facets of life, getting what you want is all about building relationships.


The immutable foundation of our message is that what we want is what is best for our patients and the nation’s healthcare system.  We’re the guys and gals with the white hats, the ones who take care of the least fortunate among us – and the most fortunate in their worst moments.  We’re there 24/7/365, and all we ask is that we be provided adequate resources to enable us to do our job the way it should be done.


Think you might be interested?  Call the Washington office (202-728-0610) and ask how you can get involved.  And then put on your white hat and saddle up!

, ,

  1. No comments yet.
(will not be published)

  1. No trackbacks yet.