Dr. Teresa Holtrop, President, 2016-2018 Board of Directors
2016 has come to a close and as the new year begins to unfold, as your president of the MIAAP I ponder what needs to be accomplished in the coming months. The national elections have presented us with a new president whose agenda concerning children is imponderable at present. Our U.S. House of Representatives is trying again to get the Affordable Care Act repealed, currently without having a replacement bill in place. National polls show that the population is evenly split between wanting to repeal the ACA and keeping it. Interestingly enough, a huge majority of even those who want to repeal don’t want to do so without having a replacement bill in place. This spells hope that health insurance for all will survive. I am reminded again and again of the fact that when the Social Security Act of 1935 passed, there were similar challenges to that law. Nowadays we can’t imagine our lives without Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and all the other programs included in that bill.
As pediatricians in Michigan, we need to face the fact that our state has large disparities in child well-being. Like the three blind men confronted with an elephant, each able to only describe a small portion of the beast before them, we may each have similar challenges in seeing where our little corner of the world fits into the big picture. Our academicians are charged with training our future pediatricians, both generalists and specialists. Our private practice pediatricians in low-income areas struggle to keep their practices afloat on primarily Medicaid reimbursement rates while dealing with a host of challenging social determinants of health. Those in more high-income areas may not have the same challenges with practice income but still have to face vaccine refusals, mental health issues and a similar need to find work-life balance that all of us face. Our salaried pediatricians, both in for-profit practices as well as in federally qualified health centers, may not have to worry so much about the business side of things but are still charged with staying on top of new findings while trying to find ways of not succumbing to feelings of not having a say in how their lives are arranged by their bosses.
The MIAAP is charged with supporting all of you, while at the same time advocating on behalf of the children we care for. I challenge you to get involved if you aren’t yet, or stay involved if you have been. Together we CAN make a difference in the lives of both children and adults, ourselves included. I look forward to being able to say by this time next year that the numbers for child outcomes have improved for the state.