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From America’s Healers: A Letter to Our Patients in the Trump Era

Posted by Becky Martin, NPA Advocacy Director November 18, 2016 at 4:00 PM

We on the Board of Directors at NPA are so impressed with the letter below from doctors and students at the Cambridge Health Alliance, which aligns perfectly with the values and efforts of NPA towards effective, affordable healthcare; patients-centered, evidence-based medicine; and a condemnation of torture or “enhanced interrogations” in our society; that we asked for permission to cross-post and share with NPA members and allies.

In this new and uncertain time in American history, we healthcare professionals feel a special responsibility. We strive to keep our clinical judgment unclouded by our political persuasions, yet we cannot help but see the manifestations of our society’s ills in our everyday practice. For our patients, poverty, violence, and marginalization are not mere abstractions but instead harsh realities. As a result, we feel compelled to act and advocate against any threat to our patients’ well-being.

The policies proposed by the incoming administration under President-Elect Donald Trump may pose just such a threat. In light of these proposed changes to our healthcare system, we proudly affirm the following eight beliefs on behalf of the health of all Americans:

1. We believe that health is a human right. Health is a fundamental condition for human flourishing, without which economic prosperity and political freedom have little meaning. Therefore, all Americans should have access to essential, effective healthcare regardless of their ability to pay. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we made great gains towards increasing access to care, particularly for economically disadvantaged communities. The tens of millions of Americans who gained insurance coverage under the ACA are understandably frightened by calls for this legislation to be taken down in whole or in part. We vow to fight for the provisions of the ACA that have enabled us to achieve these gains in access and quality of care, while continuing to push healthcare reform toward our goal of access to care for all.

2. We believe in evidence-based medicine and public health policy. After an electoral cycle in which feelings often triumphed over facts, we must reaffirm our commitment to the principles of science. In medicine, we strive to produce research that is non-partisan and free of personal bias in order to guide our practice as healers. We must continue to place our trust in scientific consensus and use facts to fight feelings when elected leaders raise doubts about long-settled debates, from vaccines to climate change. Moreover, we must ensure that the regulatory process for determining the safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical drugs remains rigorous and uninfluenced by financial incentives from the private sector. We vow to defend the pursuit of scientific truth and free inquiry in America.

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