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Medical Reform Legislation Slowly Building Support
June 10, 2015 - The focus of effort for aeromedical reform legislation is currently in the Senate where EAA and other supporters are working tirelessly to educate lawmakers and their staff, seek support, and bridge gaps where misunderstanding or opposition is encountered. This is the unseen grunt work necessary to move a bill through committees of jurisdiction and ultimately to the floor for a vote.
Medical reform contained in the Pilots Bill of Rights 2 has a strong base of support. That support is far from unanimous, though, and some lawmakers outright oppose reducing the FAA’s role in the airman medical certification process. To these lawmakers it just feels like a bad idea. It sounds unsafe. It’s a perception we are battling as we educate lawmakers on the merits of the proposal. The safety record of existing operations not requiring a medical certificate plays a significant role in that.
There are still key lawmakers who believe firmly that the FAA best administers aeromedical matters and that at least some elements of the process in place today are necessary. This viewpoint is actively supported by a vocal group of aeromedical professionals who insist that the medical certification process is a critical lynchpin in the recreational aviation safety system. EAA maintains that this outright opposition is unfounded, based on the successful decade of experience with the Sport Pilot system of medical self-certification and the extremely low incidence of medical incapacitation. But that opposition creates issues that need to be addressed in order to gain the necessary support to move the bill forward.
Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and their staffs are working tirelessly to negotiate with their Senate peers and aid EAA and other supporters in our efforts to reach out, educate, and inform. But the handful of professional staff of EAA and other organizations can only do so much. If you as an EAA member support this goal, we need you to make every effort to contact your lawmakers and make a personal case for aeromedical reform.
Your government relations staff at EAA meets with lawmakers and their aides on a continual basis delivering a targeted message about aeromedical reform. This message ultimately only carries weight when lawmakers also hear a steady drumbeat of demand for change from their constituents.
If you want it, help make it happen! Call, write or, best of all, visit with your congressional representative and senators when you have an opportunity to do so. Get contact information of your representatives now.
Together we can make this top advocacy priority of EAA and our members a reality!