When the Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (OrthoPAC) recognized its 20th birthday on Feb. 6, it had a lot to celebrate. There were significant victories in the past year alone, including finally repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board and, after five years of tireless advocacy, getting the AAOS-led Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act signed into law.
OrthoPAC also had its best election cycle in PAC history, raising a record-breaking $4 million—a more than 15 percent increase from last cycle—and achieving a win rate of 90 percent in the House and 86 percent in the Senate. OrthoPAC expended a tremendous amount of capital, investing $2.7 million and supporting 320 candidates in the 2018 election cycle. The PAC represented the specialty at more than 1,400 events in Washington, D.C., and in Congressional districts—an increase of 30 percent from previous years.
These accomplishments did not go unnoticed. On March 5, OrthoPAC was named the 2018 Outstanding Association PAC by the Public Affairs Council at the National PAC Conference in Miami. The annual award recognizes an association PAC program that has demonstrated success in implementing a new campaign, strategy, or solicitation to strengthen or grow.
“We were impressed with OrthoPAC’s innovative solutions to finding new revenue streams to reinvigorate their outreach,” Public Affairs Council President Doug Pinkham said. “The new approaches they took in peer-to-peer and mobile fundraising upped their game and are helping raise the standard for other PACs.”
Perhaps OrthoPAC’s greatest victory is how far it has come in two decades. What began as an idea to support advocacy initiatives and orthopaedics-friendly candidates for office is now the most active and unified PAC in the entire physician community—it has the best participation rate and is the largest healthcare disburser.
OrthoPAC opens doors, offers unprecedented access to lawmakers, and serves as a vehicle for AAOS legislative success. In representing the entire house of orthopaedics, it is also powerfully positioned to leverage the strength of state and specialty societies to advocate for issues of mutual concern.
As it looks back on an incredible 20 years, OrthoPAC would like to thank those who helped make this success possible—from its donors to the PAC Executive Committee and everyone else in between. AAOS members, patients, and the entire orthopaedic community benefit from the work OrthoPAC does and the reputation it has built.
To accomplish even more in the years and decades to come, OrthoPAC is asking AAOS members to join its 20th birthday celebration. You can give a birthday gift of just $20 by texting “birthday20” to 41444.
Happy 20th birthday to the OrthoPAC. I am truly grateful to our former leaders, Paul Collins, MD, who got the PAC off the ground, and Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, who grew the PAC to national prominence. I am humbled to follow them as the current chairman.
We are an issue-oriented PAC and support members of Congress who support our issues, regardless of party affiliation. Advocacy is now a pillar of AAOS, and personal relationships with members of Congress are key to successful advocacy. It’s not enough just to know the name of your member of Congress—the member needs to know your name as well.
With the support of the OrthoPAC, the most active physician PAC in the nation, and the success of our key contact ambassador program, more members of Congress have personal relationships with orthopaedic surgeons than ever before. However, now that Congress has more than 100 new members following the midterms, there is work yet to be done.
As we begin a new two-year election cycle heading into the 2020 elections, let’s make this cycle our best ever with, for the very first time, more of our 18,000 AAOS fellows supporting the PAC.
John T. Gill, MD
Twenty years. In my mind, OrthoPAC started as a baby and has matured into a robust 20-year-old quarterback. The years spent learning the landscape in Washington, D.C., and seeing how this legislative process works and helps our patients have been very rewarding.
The leadership shown by the PAC is now admired by all other organizations. The best part of that leadership is that we focus on the outcomes for our patients, not the income of our physicians.
One cannot know what the next 20 years will bring; however, with the standards set by the PAC, the results will continue to be admirable. Therefore, do not consider your contribution to OrthoPAC a payment. It is an investment in the future of our patients—they deserve our ongoing help.
Paul Collins, MD
I am very proud that during my time in leadership of AAOS and the PAC, we were able to educate members on the importance of advocacy in maintaining the doctor-patient relationship and our ability to give coordinated musculoskeletal care.
We were able to grow the PAC to be the number one physician PAC in the country and in the top 10 of all PACs, with a member participation rate greater than 30 percent. We were able to do this even though we represent only 2.7 percent of doctors and despite having just 18,000 solicitable members compared to the former number one PAC, Realtors PAC, which has more than 1 million members.
Most importantly, our PAC’s strength allowed us to open doors at the highest levels of government, to have our voice heard, and [it gave] us the independence to advocate our own issues—ones that might not be a high priority to the healthcare community at large.
Stuart L. Weinstein, MD
How does OrthoPAC size up?
The Orthopaedic Political Action Committee (OrthoPAC) is among the largest association PACs in the nation and enjoys the best participation rates of all physician and dental PACs. Every dollar raised is an investment in the orthopaedic specialty. In fact, Bloomberg recently recognized OrthoPAC as the largest healthcare disburser in the nation. Although OrthoPAC is robust, it is still outraised 2 to 1 by the similar-in-size Association of Trial Lawyers of America PAC.
OrthoPAC has had a lot to celebrate over its rich history, but it is most thankful for its dedicated supporters. Each colleague’s generosity has built the power and influence of OrthoPAC. Here’s to 20 successful years and a bright future.
Kristen Coultas is the communications manager in the AAOS Office of Government Relations (OGR).
Stacie Monroe is the senior manager of political affairs in the AAOS OGR.