The Psychology Political Action Committee (PAC) supports the advocacy agenda of the American Psychological Association (APA). For reference, a political action committee is similar but not the same concept as “lobbying.” Lobbying is for specific legislation, while advocacy is about an overall issue (e.g., the promotion of psychology).
Goals of the Psychology PAC include increasing access to evidence-based mental health care, promoting parity in insurance reimbursement for psychologists, gaining psychology research funding, reducing health disparities for underserved populations, and reducing suicide.
These are amazing priorities, right!? These are the things I’m getting on my soapbox about on a daily basis. Everyone should have access to quality mental health care, psychologists should be reimbursed wayyy more by insurance companies, etc. etc.
So why are psychologists not supporting the PAC?
According to data from 2021, 365 psychologists contributed to the Psychology PAC. “How many psychologists are members of the APA?” you might ask. There are over 146,000 members of the APA (which does not include all psychologists). That means that only 0.0025% of members contribute!!
In 2021, the PAC raised $81,745 toward its advocacy efforts from these 365 members. For comparison, here are some numbers from the top PACs in the US in the same time period: The National Association of Realtors raised $3,986,000; Blue Cross/Blue Shield amassed $2,528,525; and the American Federation of Teachers raised $2,336,500.
If every member of APA contributed $1 per year, the PAC would be more successful than it is today.
Why are we not investing in ourselves?
I am a huge advocate for the field of psychology and the PAC’s priorities line up with some key issues in our field. If psychologists want to be reimbursed at a higher rate, wouldn’t it make sense to invest in that endeavor?
In my opinion, without knowing of anything that would preclude support of the PAC, it’s not being supported due to a gap in our training. We do not receive enough training in advocacy and business. Other fields have figured out how to prioritize advocacy, and we may really benefit from following suit. For better or worse, money does talk in politics. Beyond promoting our field, this is something that could truly help individuals needing psychology services.
Why do you think psychologists are not investing in political advocacy for our field? Comment below!