Monday, October 26, 2020

Medicine With a Med Student: Vote, and Vote Safely! Part 2

Editor’s Note: Me&My Doctor is launching a new monthly series, Medicine With a Med Student, which features blog posts written exclusively by medical students studying to become physicians. In this second post in a two-part series on voting, the authors explain the significance of health care initiatives when deciding which political candidates to vote for. Part 1 provides tips on how to vote safely. For more information on the authors, visit below.

Voting is incredibly important for the health and well-being of our communities. The ballot initiatives we vote on and the candidates we vote for shape our health care and our lived experiences. Some states have had ballot initiatives on issues such as Medicaid expansion. Furthermore, the candidates we elect on the local, state, and national levels will often vote on issues important to health care during their term in office. 

Though it may seem like patient care is only one element that elected officials decide, many decisions have an impact on our health. When we think of health care policy, we often think of decisions affecting going to the doctor or getting a shot or medicine, but elected officials and policymakers also influence broader health issues, such as health care costs, health insurance, prescription drugs, and telemedicine. 

Our elected officials also enact policies that affect our community living experience and our health. Government action regarding school systems, housing, economic support, environmental changes, and much more all carry potential health effects. 

Your single vote combines with the votes of your family, neighbors, and community to elect people who reflect your values. Although national elections generally attract a high voter turnout, local elections are typically decided by a much smaller group of voters. Voting is a key component of keeping our democracy viable and ensuring we continue to make policies that benefit us.

Although we are in a global pandemic, local, state, and national voting is underway. Voting, and doing so safely, is of great importance. We urge everyone to research candidates’ positions on health care-related issues and consider those stances as you cast your ballot. Your and your neighbors’ access to quality health care might depend on the outcome.

Sarah Miller
Medical Student at UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
Chair, Texas Medical Association Medical Student Section Executive Council

Swetha Maddipudi
Medical Student at UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine
Vice Chair, TMA Medical Student Section Executive Council

Ryan Wealther
Medical Student at UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine
Reporter, TMA Medical Student Section Executive Council

Alyssa Greenwood Francis
Medical Student at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, El Paso
TMA Delegate Co-Chair, TMA Medical Student Section Executive Council

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