ACP Says that Equitable Access to Voting is Paramount to Better Health Outcomes

BOSTON April 19, 2024 –Access to voting is critical to the health of patients, said leaders from the American College of Physicians (ACP). The remarks came during a press briefing today at Internal Medicine Meeting 2024, ACP’s annual scientific meeting.

“Now more than ever, we need to keep health and health care in mind as an election issue.  As physicians, we need to think about the ways in which the government can affect our practice of medicine and our ability to care for our patients,” said Omar T. Atiq, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “We also need to help patients, to the extent we can with overcoming barriers to casting their vote.”

Dr. Atiq was joined by Eileen Barrett, MD, MACP, chair, Board of Regents, ACP, and Shari Erickson, chief advocacy officer and senior vice president of governmental affairs and public policy, ACP.

Dr. Barrett highlighted ACP’s policy regarding the need to ensure equitable access to the electoral process in the United States. She discussed a partnership that ACP has with VotER, a nonprofit organization working to help health care professionals facilitate patient voter registration.

“Our patients can face many barriers to accessing voting. Things like a lack of identification documents, frequent changes of address, English proficiency, transportation challenges, and limited polling hours and locations. All of these things can prevent someone from being able to cast their ballot,” said Dr. Barrett. “Health care facilities can play a vital role in educating the population in a nonpartisan manner about the importance of voting and registering community members to vote.”

Finally, Erickson outlined ACP’s federal advocacy priorities for the year, including physician payments, reducing administrative burdens, ensuring access to care, and protecting the patient-physician relationship. She noted that many of these issues have already been discussed by candidates who are running for office this year and that they will likely continue to be hot topics as we approach the election this fall.

“While election years can be quite challenging in terms of moving new legislation forward, we are optimistic that we can make some headway on our top priority issues over the coming months,” concluded Erickson.


About the American College of Physicians 
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 161,000 internal medicine physicians, related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Contact: Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572,