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Advocacy Update: ‘Facts are stubborn things' and are needed more than ever

(from the March 2017 ACP Internist)

ACP advocacy is based on the premise that public policy positions that are well supported by facts and evidence will be more persuasive and have greater acceptance.

We often look to our Founding Fathers for wisdom, especially in turbulent times. This quote from John Adams is particularly apt to today's debates over the Affordable Care Act, climate change, vaccines, and many other issues: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

It has been observed that we now live in a post-facts or “alternative facts” era, when people's inclinations and passions are allowed to substitute for facts and evidence. Yet without some agreement on underlying facts and evidence, informed and reasoned discourse is impossible, and the policy results will surely be the wrong ones.

This is particularly troubling for ACP, because our advocacy is based on the premise that public policy positions that are well supported by facts and evidence will be more persuasive with, and have greater acceptance by, elected officials and the broader public they serve than ones that are lacking in facts and evidence. All of ACP's policy papers, many of which are published in Annals of Internal Medicine and therefore meet its editorial standards, are supported by an extensive review of facts and evidence.

Yet there are many examples of the challenges ACP faces in offering evidence-based policy recommendations in a post-fact world.

Read the full article in ACP Internist.

The ACP Advocate is a bi-weekly e-newsletter that provides ACP members with news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care.

Back to April 2017 Issue of IMpact