There’s a poignant moment in Hamilton: An American Musical in which a despondent George Washington laments the long odds of his revolution, “a powder keg about to explode” unless he receives an immediate infusion of the supplies and reinforcements he was initially promised at the war’s start.
Like General Washington, hospitals and health systems face a similar powder keg … one borne from a finite set of resources, a politicized environment and a disconnect by some as to the realities on the front lines of the pandemic … in our war against COVID-19.
The musical tells us how Alexander Hamilton declares “I am not throwing away my shot,” seizing the opportunity to become Washington’s most valued resource and lending the general his superlative writing ability to turn the tides of an increasingly dire conflict.
Like Hamilton, it’s time for us to take our shot and muster all our troops to advocate for the resources and support our field desperately needs so we can continue caring for our patients and communities.
The relief package released on Monday by Senate Republicans — the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability protection and Schools (HEALS) Act — is the starting point for negotiations with Democrats. There are provisions that we support, including protecting health care providers and facilities from liability related to COVID-19. And there is certainly room for improvements — including more money for the Provider Relief Fund and full forgiveness for Medicare accelerated payments — as well as additional provisions that should be incorporated into a compromise package.
The good news: We still have the opportunity to shape the final package as Republicans and Democrats remain far apart on a deal. But we cannot wait to make our case. We know there is legitimate, worthy competition for limited resources … including for helping schools and businesses … so our field needs to be unified and engaged from now until a final deal is struck.
Our priorities remain the same. You can find all the issues we are advocating and resources to help you make the case with your lawmakers on our Action Center webpage. You’ll also see all of the activity the AHA is doing on your behalf — advertising on TV and digital media, studies to support our positions, and stories from hospitals on the front line of the crisis … just to name a few.
Each and every senator is important. We’ve made it easy for you to contact them — either through an email, phone call or Tweet — to deliver these urgent messages. You also can share the link with your family, friends and neighbors and ask them to weigh in.
We know there will be lots of twists and turns in the next week (or weeks) as a deal comes together. But the time for action is now as this could be the last legislative train leaving the station before Election Day.
Let’s take our shot. Let’s do this together. And let’s remind our elected officials that we are on the front lines, and we need their support to win the war against COVID-19.