A local doctor who ran for Congress last year is heading up a new healthcare advocacy campaign. Dr. Rob Davidson, of Spring Lake, gathered unprecedented Democratic support in his challenge of U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, in the 2nd Congressional District race last fall. After losing the election, the Democratic said he intended to focus his political advocacy on the nation’s healthcare system. Davidson is the new executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare and Affordable Care, a nonprofit advocacy group. The organization has a new campaign to recruit doctors nationwide to political advocacy initiatives. In his campaign for Congress, Davidson invoked his experience as an emergency room physician, where he said he sees patients on a regular basis who cannot afford care and prescriptions. He hopes the committee’s campaign, which dovetails with the 2020 presidential election, can give doctors a voice. “They’re seeing patients avoid care, and they can’t avail themselves to all the great technology and all the great healthcare that’s out there because they can’t afford it,” Davidson said. Davidson said healthcare is a top issue for voters across party lines, especially the economic burden of drug and healthcare costs. In Michigan and a dozen other states, the group has so far recruited about 55 physicians, Davidson said. Their advocacy will entail activities like further recruitment, writing op-eds and producing advertising. The nonprofit is in need of funding to continue their efforts, Davidson said. In the election year, he said, the campaign will “get very political.” While the committee cannot give financial support to a specific candidate, Davidson said, they will look to support certain initiatives, such as protection of Medicare, lowering prescription drug costs and protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. “No matter what we want to try to get done, the political environment needs to change to have any chance of getting anything done,” Davidson said. Davidson said he does not have plans to run for office next year, ruling out another Democratic bid at the 2nd Congressional District.
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