Each year, after the votes are counted in federal and state elections, the ASRT Government Relations Department reviews the results to plan for the legislative sessions that will follow. The department also works to keep members informed about legislative and regulatory efforts that impact the medical imaging and radiation therapy profession.
Let’s look at the numbers. To effectively advocate for the profession, ASRT analyzes the political makeup of state governments —including which party has control of the state house, senate and governorship. Now that the votes for the 2022 general election have been counted, 17 states are controlled by Democrats, 23 states are controlled by Republicans and 10 states have divided power.
Party control offers a clue about which states may oppose our efforts to uphold ASRT’s mission to advance and elevate the medical imaging and radiation therapy profession and to enhance the quality and safety of patient care. Among the divided state governments, our advocacy efforts are focused on garnering bipartisan support. In states that have one party in control of all three branches, our advocacy efforts target the legislative agenda of the party in power.
For example, Michigan was a divided power state, but has shifted control to Democrats. That consolidation of power gives ASRT an opportunity to make strides in the licensure effort that stalled during the 2022 session. On the other hand, Pennsylvania has moved into a divided state government, which will require ASRT to identify additional champions within the state Legislature.
No matter which party is in power, ASRT is committed to monitoring and acting upon legislative and regulatory developments in licensure, scope of practice and encroachment. Those issues are on the rise in several states, as is movement toward deregulation of licensure.
Case in point, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has introduced a red-tape relief initiative to evaluate “out of date and unnecessary regulations.” This includes taking an in-depth look at all the state-issued licenses. The initiative could be harmless, but it could also result in the deregulation of critical health care professions, including medical imaging.
In 2022, along with the state elections, voters also decided on races for the entire U.S. House of Representatives and one-third of the U.S. Senate. Democrats now have a majority in the Senate with 50 members compared to Republicans’ 49 and one Independent who won’t caucus with either party. Control of the House switched to the Republican Party, where they now have 222 seats compared to Democrats’ 213. With the margins of power being so slim, it’s likely that Congress will continue its pattern of stalemates around many issues and only find common ground on matters like veteran services and mental health. We expect issues around Medicare and health care professionals’ scope of practice to continue to be contentious.
ASRT’s Eyes and Ears
The ASRT Government Relations Department monitors legislative and regulatory actions at the state and federal levels. We’re committed to ensuring that the profession is recognized and protected, and we rely on ASRT members to be active partners. No one is in a better position to know what’s going on in your state than you.
If you know of proposed legislation or regulations in your state, email email@example.com to alert us. We must work together to uphold the standards of care required in the profession.
This article originally appeared in the February/March 2023 issue of ASRT's Scanner. Please visit the ASRT Publications page for more information.
Reprinted with permission from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists for educational purposes. ©2023. All rights reserved.