Advocacy 101 Toolkit
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is the act of educating elected officials on specific causes or issues. Urology advocates volunteer their time to work with lawmakers to support and promote policies that have a positive impact on urologists and the patients they treat. Lobbying involves engaging lawmakers to take action on specific pieces of legislation.
What Role Does the AUA Play?
The AUA is actively engaged in advocacy and lobbying at the state and federal level on legislative and regulatory issues that affect the urology community.
Advocacy initiatives are led by the AUA’s Public Policy Council (chaired by Dr. Christopher Gonzalez) and its associated committees. We also maintain a full-time presence in Washington, DC, where our Legislative & Public Affairs and Patient & Research Advocacy teams work to advance our top issues.
About the House of Representatives
- Represents the people (# by populations)
- Maximum number of seats in the House is 435
- All re-elected every two years
- Tax and spending bills must start in the House
- Often referred to as "the House" of the "lower" chamber of Congress
- Represents the states (two apiece, regardless of size)
- Exactly 100 seats
- One third re-elected every two years
- Senate approves/amends treaties and Presidential appointments
- Can block legislation with a filibuster (requires a two–thirds vote to end a debate – "invoking cloture)
- Often referred to as "the Senate" or the "upper" house of Congress
How it Works
The AUA advocates for members at all stages of the policy process, including the legislative, regulatory and implementation stages.
116th Congress: Fast Facts
Key Health Care Committees to Watch
House Ways & Means
Chair: Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA-1)
The Committee on Ways and Means is the "chief tax-writing committee in the House of Representatives." Revenue-related aspects of Medicare, Social Security and other programs are within the jurisdiction of this important body of lawmakers. Bills and matters related to programs providing payments for healthcare, health delivery or research fall under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, chaired by Lloyd Doggett (D-TX- 35).
House Energy & Commerce
Chair: Rep. Frank pallone (D-NJ-6)
As its name suggests, the focus of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce is the primary committee focused on promotion of commerce, including the public’s health and marketplace interests. Its Subcommittee on Health has jurisdiction over bills and resolutions relative to public health, hospitals, health insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid as well as private plans), health information technology, drug abuse, medical malpractice insurance and more.
House Oversite & Government Reform
Chair: Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7)
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is Congress’ primary investigative committee, holding hearings and conducting investigations as part of its oversight duties. Drug pricing was a key area of interest for this committee during the 115th Congress.
House Veterans' Affairs
Chair: Mark Takano (D-CA-41)
The House Committee on Veterans Affairs is the authorizing committee for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and holds within its jurisdiction veterans’s benefits, including medical care, treatment of veterans and veterans’ hospitals.
Chair: Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
The Senate Committee on Finance is very similar to the House Committee on Ways and Means, with a wide jurisdiction covering matters relative to taxation and revenue, among them health programs under the Social Security Act (namely Medicare and Medicaid) and health programs financed by a specific tax or trust.
Chair: Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
The Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) and its subcommittees focus on issues relating to health care, education, employment and retirement.
Senate Veterans' Affairs
Chair: Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs oversees veterans’ issues, including benefits such as health care services.
Health Care Issues to Watch in the 116th
- Affordable Care Act
- Drug Pricing and Healthcare Costs
- Medicare Reform/Solvency
- Medicaid Reform/Expansion
- Moratorium on Physician-Owned Hospitals
- Transparency in Medical Billing ("Surprise Bills")