The House Health Care Reform bill of 2010 is almost a reality. Some have suggested that the entire bill be tossed out. Others are saying that it should be held off until our representatives have had sufficient time to read and analyze them. Yet another faction thinks that it’s not what anyone really wants, but it’s a good start, so they should vote for it and get that hurdle over with. Those who were opposed are jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of the 31,000,000 uninsured (who won’t actually get benefits for years.) Then there’s the AMA.
Dr. J. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association, claims “qualified support” for the bill, because he believes the bill will be “extending health coverage to the vast majority of the uninsured.” Supposedly it it was further stated that doctors are deeply disappointed that the bill doesn’t repeal the method by which Medicare payments are calculated. Though Congress informally agrees to address the issue, physicians’ Medicare payments are repeatedly threatened by significant cuts, which Congress keeps putting short-term bandages on. Surprisingly enough, some Democrats (such as Peter DeFazio,) have said that they won’t support the bill unless it increases Medicare payments to states that provide high-quality care at low costs. It would seem the AMA wasn’t as interested in protecting the interests of their members as is Mr DeFazio.
The AMA hardly speaks for the majority of the physicians in the U.S. In fact, only about 1/3 of the doctors in the U.S. are even AMA members. Physicians are concerned about the Medicare cuts, of course, because they care about their patients and the cuts make it untenable to continue to treat them. But the massive pink elephant, unaddressed Tort Reform, is the big concern, both for physicians and the health care system as a whole. The plain and simple fact is that the AMA does not have the support of most of the physicians and health care providers in the States. More to the point, they aren’t speaking out in the best interests of the their doctors. They’re willing to negotiate away solid assurances of a continued and proper rate of pay for Medicare. They’re willing to throw Tort Reform under the bus. Is it any wonder why they represent so few of the doctors in the country?
If Congress thinks that the AMA speaks for the health care providers of this nation, they need to be educated. Take it upon yourself to do so. Let them know that Tort Reform matters to you. Let them know that the sell-out of the AMA doesn’t speak for you. Hopefully, we’ll be able to salvage good out of whatever Congress does with Healthcare Reform in the near future. In the meanwhile, you can count on Medical Justice to look out for your best interests, helping you avoid frivolous lawsuits, character defamation, and unwarranted demands for refunds. Until Congress passes legitimate, comprehensive health care reform, it’s up to us to take the bull by the horns. The AMA certainly isn’t going to do so.