The Endocrine Society is advocating for you. In 2023 we achieved several important advocacy accomplishments, including:
- Making insulin more affordable;
- Advancing legislation to allow Medicare to cover anti-obesity medication;
- Increasing Medicare physician payments for endocrinology;
- Expanding telehealth coverage;
- Protecting access to gender-affirming care;
- Protecting the National Institutes of Health from budget cuts; and
- Influencing the development of a global plastics treaty
All these accomplishments were achieved because our members participated in our advocacy activities, online campaigns, Hill Days, and meetings with policymakers. Below are some examples of our advocacy victories.
Advocacy to Lower the Cost of Insulin – The Endocrine Society is one of the leading voices calling for U.S. legislation to lower the cost and price of insulin. Our work has influenced the Biden Administration to prioritize this issue and Congress to develop legislative proposals.
- Medicare Insulin Price Cap: Historic legislation was signed into law capping the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 per month for people with Medicare. The legislation was a long-term goal of the Society and is a monumental moment in the history of diabetes advocacy.
- Congressional Meetings & Briefings: The Endocrine Society has conducted hundreds of congressional meetings to urge passage of bipartisan legislation and conducted several educational briefings for policymakers about insulin affordability.
- White House Action: The Endocrine Society met with the Biden Administration to make insulin affordability a priority. As a result, a proposal to expand an insulin co-pay cap to the private insurance market was included in the President’s budget and in the State of the Union address.
Reducing the Prevalence of Obesity – The Endocrine Society is working to reduce the prevalence of obesity in the United States by educating Congress about obesity and identifying policy options that would address this issue.
- Obesity Playbook: Early in 2023, the Endocrine Society published an educational resource for members of Congress and their staff about obesity. The Playbook was designed to be a “go-to” resource for members of Congress and their staff when they answer constituent questions about obesity and consider legislation related to obesity. The Obesity Playbook contains data on obesity prevalence, the economic cost of obesity, obesity’s impact on military readiness, policy options to address obesity, and a list of Society members who are experts in the field. Endocrine Society members Drs. Amy Rothberg, Rocio Pereira, and Jami Josefson served as advisors for the Playbook.
- Congressional Briefings: The Endocrine Society conducted a Congressional briefing for members of Congress and their staff to educate them about prevalence of obesity, its financial costs to our healthcare system, and its impact on America’s military readiness. Endocrine Society members Drs. Amy Rothberg and Ricardo Correa spoke at the briefing, highlighting new data from the CDC about increasing obesity prevalence and its impact on our military.
- Treat and Reduce Obesity Act: The Endocrine Society has been collaborating closely with the sponsors of the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) on the bill’s reintroduction. TROA is a bipartisan bill that would improve Medicare coverage of various treatments for obesity, including anti-obesity medications. Improving access to obesity treatments is a top priority for the Society.
Improving Medicare Physician Payment – The Endocrine Society advocates to increase physician payment to recognize the value endocrinologists bring to the healthcare system.
- Averting Medicare Cuts: Endocrine Society advocacy resulted in averting significant Medicare physician payment cuts in 2023 and 2024. We continue to call on Congress to improve the Medicare physician payment system.
- Improving Coverage and Coding: Endocrine Society advocacy includes representation at the American Medical Association’s Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) and Advisors to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Committee. Chase Hendrickson, MD, MPH, Sandhya Chhabra, MD, Allan Glass, MD, and Ricardo Correa, MD, represent the Endocrine Society at the RUC and CPT.
- Expanding Access to Telehealth: Endocrine Society successfully advocated for a two-year extension of the telehealth waivers put in place during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ensuring that our members can provide care to patients via telehealth.
- Telehealth Policy Perspective Paper: the Society published a telehealth policy perspective in JCEM which provides guidance to Endocrine Society members on the appropriate use of telehealth in endocrinology.
Protecting Access to Gender-Affirming Care – The Endocrine Society advocates to expand, improve, and protect access to care for transgender and gender-diverse individuals. We do this by providing information to policymakers, courts, and the public about gender dysphoria/gender incongruence and evidence-based medical treatment options.
- Friend of the Court: The Endocrine Society has submitted “friend of the court” briefs (also known as amici briefs) in court challenges to state laws that ban gender-affirming care or criminalize the physicians who provide it. We work with respected medical, mental health, and healthcare organizations to submit an amicus brief to the Court with medical evidence supporting the standard of care for treating transgender and gender diverse individuals.
- Strengthening AMA Policy: The Endocrine Society led a historic effort to protect access to gender-affirming care at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates. The Endocrine Society introduced a resolution that would call on the AMA to oppose any criminal and legal penalties against patients seeking gender-affirming care, family members who support them in seeking medical care, and healthcare facilities and clinicians who provide gender-affirming care.
- Voice of Science in Public Discourse: The Endocrine Society represents the voice of science in discussions about transgender health and treatment for gender dysphoria/gender incongruence. The Endocrine Society was featured on an episode of The Problem with Jon Stewart that focused on access to gender-affirming care. Stewart interviewed Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline author Josh Safer, MD, to discuss the medical evidence supporting gender-affirming care for minors. This episode was widely praised for combatting the misinformation about gender-affirming care.
Advocacy to Increase Funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – Funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a top priority of the Endocrine Society. Our goal is to protect the NIH from funding cuts and to ensure that all NIH Institutes receive significant funding increases as a proportionate share of a total increase. We also advocate for special attention to early career scientists and to reduce administrative burdens on scientists. In addition, we raise the visibility of endocrine-related research and researchers.
- Advocacy Campaigns: We are asking members to urge their lawmakers to support increased NIH funding. Congress currently is considering funding for fiscal year (FY) 2024, which officially began October 1, 2023. The Society has been a vocal advocate for not only increasing NIH funding, but also averting a federal shutdown and protecting against proposals and amendments to cut funding.
- Testimony: The Endocrine Society provides annual testimony to the Appropriations Committee recommending funding levels for the NIH. In 2023, we highlighted the dangers posed by proposed broad cuts to public health programs, including biomedical research.
- Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H): The Endocrine Society was invited to present at two different listening sessions by the Biden administration and discuss how the new agency could benefit endocrine-related science. The Society also urged policymakers to ensure funding for ARPA-H would supplement, not supplant, funding for NIH.
- Congressional Hill Days: The Endocrine Society sponsors regular Capitol Hill Days where our members meet with congressional offices to discuss NIH funding. In 2023, our Past-President, Carol Wysham, and our President Steve Hammes, joined a group of Endocrine Society members to advocate for $50.92 billion for the NIH and call attention to endocrinology’s key role in diabetes research. We also lend our voice in the research community’s annual Rally for Medical Research Hill Day calling on Congress to increase funding for biomedical research.
Global Advocacy for Better Regulation of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) – The Endocrine Society is the voice of science in policy discussions around the globe concerning endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). As a result of our work, policy makers now recognize EDCs as a hazardous class of chemicals, support research that studies environmental exposures and their impact on human health and are developing legislation and regulations to better regulate EDCs.
- Scientific Statements on EDCs: The Endocrine Society was the first scientific organization to develop a statement on what the science tells us about EDCs and make policy recommendations. Endocrine Society member Andrea C. Gore, PhD led this effort.
- Estimates of the Costs of Health Effects from EDCs: The Endocrine Society was the only scientific organization to publish the estimated cost of health effects from EDCs. This work grabbed the attention of policymakers in the EU and continues to drive action. Endocrine Society member Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP conducted the study.
- Use of Science in Regulatory Decisions: The Endocrine Society routinely submits the latest scientific evidence to regulatory agencies to ensure that regulations are based on up-to-date knowledge of the effects of chemicals on endocrine systems. In 2023, we influenced a decision made by the European Food Safety Agency to lower the exposure limits to BPA in food.
- Plastics Treaty Negotiations: The Endocrine Society is a leading scientific voice in United Nations negotiations to develop an international treaty to end plastic pollution. Marina Fernandez, PhD, has spoken during plenary sessions and throughout the treaty process to ensure that health-focused objectives, including measures to reduce exposure to EDCs in plastic, are included in the treaty.
- Advising the European Commission on Legislation to Implement the EU Ambition for a “Toxic-Free” Environment: The Endocrine Society holds a position on the group advising the EU Commission. Endocrine Society member Anne-Simone Parent, MD, PhD represents the Society.
For up-to-date information on our advocacy work and to learn how you can participate, please visit endocrine.org/advocacy or contact us at: [email protected].