• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Let’s Make a Deal: Doctor Support for Government Contracts

    So why don’t President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi want to allow CSPAN to televise the final health care negotiations? Why is White House press secretary Robert Gibbs evading questions about transparency in the final crafting of the bill? Just what deals are being made to secure the votes necessary to pass a plan that vast majorities of the American public are against?

    It appears that medical groups supporting Obamacare could come away with healthy bottom lines. Dr. Erik Dahl blasted the American Medical Association’s recent support of the Senate health care bill, noting that the physicians group failed to mention the medical billing system it has with the Health and Human Services Department.

    Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Dahl, a Maryland doctor and a former assistant chief at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, posits in a letter to the editor:

    [While] Democrats are touting the AMA’s endorsement, little has been reported in the media that a large portion of the AMA’s income (the exact amount will not be released by the AMA) stems from the exclusive rights to the medical billing codes that doctors are required to use when they submit bills to insurance plans.

    These are essentially the same as a bar code, and are used for nearly every medical procedure, from appendectomies to heart transplants. This arrangement results from a once-secret deal established in the 1980s whereby the AMA maintains and updates the codes at no cost to the government, but generates millions each year selling the code books and software licenses to doctors and insurers. This enabled the government to streamline billing procedures for its insurance programs by setting a single code as the standard.

    Pointing to a growing number of state medical societies  that have come out against Obamacare, Dahl continues: “The AMA touts its proof of supporting doctors in that it is working to abolish the 21% Medicare payment cut to physicians scheduled for the coming year. However, we all know this would never take place, as millions would be dropped from the Medicare rolls. This is the reason only 17% to 19% of physicians belong to the AMA, and this number is dropping.”

    In addition to the AMA’s ties with the government, a small group of influential hospitals appear to have received a little-known provision in House and Senate legislation that would allow them to gain millions in Medicare funding. The Washington Post reports that language in both bills “would reward hospitals in their Medicare spending, a dramatic change in the formula for parceling out the public dollars, which can account for as much as half of a hospital’s budget.”

    “That could prove to be a windfall for some hospitals but a significant loss of funding for others, mostly those in big cities and the South,” the article says.

    The Mayo Clinic, a health care reform darling of the Obama administration, led the group of hospitals that lobbied for the revised Medicare formula payment change. Not surprisingly, the group was supportive of the Senate health care bill.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Let’s Make a Deal: Doctor Support for Government Contracts

    1. Janice Davis Marshf says:

      Chicago politics as expected. They will get all or part of what they want by any means. Watching Gibbs these past few days dancing around the C-SPAN questions is exactly what we were afraid of. Obama said all the right things during the campaign and is now doing none of it. All of the critics need to bombard the White House with simple straightforward questions daily on this health care hoax. Its not about health care– its about controlling us one law at a time.

    2. Grace Stanley, Chesa says:

      Once again Obama has lied. There is absolutely no transparency with this administration. Let's get this man and his gang out of our government. They are destroying our country and lessening our freedoms.

    3. jeff lawrnece grand says:

      Does OBAMA CARE include all health providers, such as DENTISTS,CHAROPRACTORS, OPTICIANS?

      UNEMPOLYMENT, which status do we look to? Do we look at the U3 OR U6 for the real truth?

    4. dave, dayton says:

      To impeach him, you first have to pin something on him that is an impreachable offense. I'm sure the CZARS will have insullated him from any culpibility(sp). He needs to go, but GOD help us Joe Biden?

    5. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      What they don't tell you is that only 15% of all MD's belong to the AMA, they belong to thei State Med. Assoc. and tay clear of AMA, As a nurse I have spoken to MD's I know and they are against this bill and several say they will quit practicing. Another fact is that those who appeared in the Rose Garden in their Obama furnished white coats, have not practiced medicine for quite a while, if ever. Medicine is not an exact science and MD"s and DO's go to school for many years, then internship, then residency, then more residency in their chosen field, most have accumalated thousands in loans and now the Gov't wants to make sure they cannot make enough to live on. For those who think they make a lot, let me tell you, first here is Mal-practice Ins, the higher your specialty the more you pay, OB/GYN is very high, some states you have to pay into a state fund. Then there is rent on your office space, equipment, salary for your office staff, payment on your answering service, salary for your office nurse and of course utilities for the office. A Dr. must have a reliable car and of course a place to live. Pease don't forget this is not an eight to five job, and most have to pull "on call" in rotation. I for one want my Dr. to stay, I do not want Obama care.

    6. Ken , Calif says:

      Congressperson Joe Wilson was correct. Obama LIES!!!!!!!!

    7. joan, connecticut says:

      This administration, is determined to transform us into a Socialist government,by using their trademark of lies and manipulation. We all know that power corrupts some in office, but we are dealing with an entire political group, who have hijacked our American rights, and have thumbed their noses at our Constitution. Its wrong! It is time to wake them up, by letting them know how we feel by phone,e-mail and by voting them out in the next election. We also have to insist on term limits to stop this "dynasty" way of thinking from ever happening again.

    8. Mark Godfrey says:

      It's been apparent from the beginning that Obama and his gang from Chicago and other corrupt places have been using extreme measures to pass extreme legislation. It started with the "Stimulus Bill" that had to be passed "by the end of the week" or our country would be finished, bankrupt etc. Create a crisis, scare the public and add all the pork you can muster, rush an unreadable bill through a vote….. and then what? Move on to another "man caused crisis" such as…… health care… The truth is that this unreadable healthcare bill is not about healthcare at all; its about The Federal Govt. bypassing the US Constitution and laws and taking what few freedoms we Americans have left. If Obama can't get it done through legislation, he will simply use an "Executive Order" like he did with Interpol on December 21, 2009. WAKE UP AMERICA !!!!

    9. Eric Potter MD Nash says:

      Our nation needs leaders with morality to regain the reins of leadership. This goes for the public and private spheres. Instead we have relativism and post-modernism underlying the President's actions and the actions of his administration. In their worldview, words are not true or false, truth or lies, but simple methods to gain power over another group. The AMA's leaders apparently also subscribe to the pragmatic approach of saying whatever will get them what they want. I long ago stopped my membership with the AMA as I saw their quackery in politics.

      Sincerly, Eric Potter MD

    10. Ron Thompson says:

      It just flat upsets me when a few announces a decision without consulting the many! The AMA as well as AARP just haphazardly made a decision that the members would just follow the leader on Health care, and since they are the “supposed” leaders they took the bribe (for the lack of a better phrase) from the Obama and ran with it! They are implementing the same type of thing as the congress….don’t listen to anybody but the one’s that agree with you. I’m out when devious politics takes over a service,without member consent.

    11. Joyfuljoy, atlanta g says:

      All you folks can do is call names…..liar, socialist, obama and his gang. Have you ever thought of what the two sides could agree on to make things better. Like that nutty Bachman, you enjoy lying and half-truths and expect us to swallow them whole.

      You want to deregulate the corporations and regulate the peoples behavior to conform to some republican standard? No thanks, you lost the election.

      Poor losers!

    12. Joyfuljoy, atlanta g says:

      by-the-by, where were you guys when Bush pushed through the part D prescription drug coverage without any funding. It will cost 3/4ths of a trillion dollars over the next 10 years.

      Let's all of us old people show appreciation thank the working man for our drugs.

      And when the folks making over 100 thou/yearly start to pay their part of S.S. taxes, I will be a happy camper.

      When I was working 2 jobs as an R.N. to send my kids to college, I paid the same amount of S.S. taxes as billionaires. Is that fair and when it that gonna change?

      There is no such thing as Obamacare.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×