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  • The AMA's Endorsement of a Government Takeover of Health Care: What Doctors Should Know

    The recent letter to Congressman Rangel from the AMA in appreciation and support for H.R. 3200, the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009” is disconcerting and fails to accurately represent the concerns of many of America’s physicians, myself included. The AMA has failed to clearly discuss the significant trade-offs that private practice physicians and their patients will face if this legislation is rushed through congress.

    First of all, if the legislation is passed along with the option of a public plan that competes with private plans, physicians will bear a significant financial burden. According to testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee by The Lewin Group, a health care and human services policy research organization, if the public plan is open to individuals and all employers using Medicare payment levels plus 5 percent, as planned, physician net income would fall by 5.4 percent. The loss of net-income would average about $16,207 per physician.

    However, these numbers are likely to significantly underestimate the losses in physician income. This analysis assumes that baseline payments in the public program will be based on current Medicare levels. Physicians in the Medicare program currently face a statutory fee cut of 21 percent in January 2010. According to the President’s commitment to budget neutrality, either Congress will need to find a funding source for this shortfall or Medicare payments to physicians (as well as baseline payments in the public option) will be 21 percent lower, making the impact of a public plan option on physician incomes significantly larger.

    More important than how much doctors are paid, however, is the effect this legislation will have on the private practice of medicine, an institution that the AMA has sustained since the organization was founded in 1847. If Congress passes H.R. 3200 with a public plan provision, as many as 113.5 persons could be shifted from private insurance into public programs, according to The Lewin Group estimates. This would not only erode private insurance, but the significant cuts in income coupled with an exponential increase in government intrusion will erode the private practice of medicine as it now exists. This contradicts President Obama’s promise to build on what is good in the system.

    A considerable number of physicians are puzzled by the AMA’s decision to support legislation that cuts income to physicians, erodes the private practice of medicine and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, has no chance of curtailing health care spending.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to The AMA's Endorsement of a Government Takeover of Health Care: What Doctors Should Know

    1. Pingback: » Financial News Update - 07/17/09 NoisyRoom.net: Where liberty dwells, there is my country…

    2. Barb -mn says:

      The president always lies and distorts the truth. There isn't an American born doctor who wants this health care takeover. It's failure to run efficiently is proven over and over again.

    3. zeezil, NC says:

      One has to wonder what's in it for the Director's and Boards of both the AMA and AARP since they have both sold out their members by endorsing the ObamaCare disaster.

    4. Scott Greene, Temple says:

      The product of health insurance is to provide you with medical coverage when you need it.

      Unlike other businesses that need to provide you with their product in order to make any money, health insurance companies actually make more money for themselves when they restrict and do not pay claims.

      In other words, they make more money when they do NOT provide the product that you have paid them for.

      Read the 50 to 70 pages of your health insurance contract.

      Pay particular attention to the section entitled “limitations and exclusions”.

      People’s health is not a product that needs to be left to the whims of money motivated CEO’s and stockholders.

      If that is your thinking, you might as well have your police and fire department protection based on insurance premiums you pay.

      Then you can go to the police and fire protection insurance page for ‘limitations and exclusions’ on whether or not the police or fire department would come out to your house in the event of an emergency.

      The point is, you would never think of discriminating against another citizen if he was the victim of a fire or crime.

      So why would you be ok with health insurance companies discriminating against fellow citizens who have pre-existing medical conditions?

    5. Vested says:

      I don't get it. Why would the AMA endorse socialized medicine? Surely that does not reflect the opinion of their membership – a membership that presumably pays dues to support the organization. What's in it for the AMA? Are they just looking for a seat at the table – assuming that the changeover is inevitible?

    6. Jim in Wisconsin says:

      "… Paging Dr. Galt. Dr. John Galt…"

    7. Terry Minnesota says:

      As a long retired physician I am appalled at this action by the AMA. They surely know they are putting their faith in a group of people whose honesty and integrity are frequently up for speculation. Its "the camels nose under the tent" folks. Would you trust these guys to run your pension plan? I dont think so!

    8. Jeff Tramiel, East N says:

      You left out the word "MILLION" after "113.5".

      You're welcome…

    9. Dr Abdul F. MD says:

      Its simple- The Economic situation is so grave -there is no way for anyone to remain at the table unless they concede something. But also keep in mind the Medical field is a big business- its not about providing care- there have been numerous studies done on this. Most docs going into medicine are doing it for the money-… but the quality of care doesnt have to go down due to decrease in payments…

      Infact with the right marketing we can increase the number of doctors who really want to be in this field like the thousands of staff members who make up the ARC American Red Cross or the countless medical members of the EMS system Emergency Medical System as Paramedics and EMT's who tirelessly provide high quality work for much less money than any of us overly paid physician's and work much harder for the love of the field.

      As a muslim I took two oaths one was in medicine and the other was an oath to uphold truth and justice where and when i see it. As painful as this may be and after much consideration I have had to take this stand and agree with the AMA to support the 21% cuts to physicians incomes.. Also with the expanded scope of practice of Nurse practice / ND's / and Doctors of TCM laws nationwide should help fill any gaps in providers should there be any MD's who decide the $$ is not in it anymore.

      Dr Abdul F. MD

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