Monday, July 20, 2009

GOP docs challenge AMA support

The AMA's endorsement last week of the House Democrats' healthcare bill no doubt raised some eyebrows. And sure enough, a group of Republican physician congressmen is challenging the position.

In a letter sent Friday to the AMA, 12 members of the GOP Doctors Caucus expressed their disappointment for what they called a "blanket endorsement" of America's Affordable Health Choices Act or 2009: Read more

"Several important principles that you have strongly advocated for in the past are missing from the bill, such as liability reform, Medicare payment reform, and antitrust issues. This inherently jeopardizes the well-established relationship that exists among the over 250,000 members of the American Medical Association and their patients.”

It looks like the group’s real concern lies in the proposal’s public option. The AMA has traditionally been a conservative group and support of a government-run health plan was a bit controversial.

(The GOP Doctors Caucus was formed in March to boost Republican physician influence, according to an American Medical News story. Most of the docs in Congress are Republicans, and health reforms are being heralded by Dems and the administration, so I am guessing there isn’t a Democratic counterpart to this group?)

Here’s the end of the letter: “... we fully believe that the AMA has lost touch with the vast majority o f physicians in this country. We therefore urge the AMA to reconsider its support for H.R. 3200.”

Do you agree? Who is rightfully representing the voice of the physician in this debate?

And finally, considering the discussion here lately about docs and the AMA, check out a recent Physicians Practice story on whether associations are worth joining.


  1. AMA? Forget it! Their monopoly on CPT, their Sunbeam debacle (selling their endorsement) and their expensive dues show their goals are not aligned with mine. I'l stick with American College of Physicians- at least we are all internists so no surgeon vs. primary care battles and I get an FACP after my name!

  2. While the proposed bill from Obama is concerning by adding yet another government plan to the insurance mix (because of the threat of unfair competition and government interference in care, albeit indirect interference by reducing payments so much that doctors can't provide care and make a profit resulting in diminished quality of care), the biggest concern is for physician specialists and the proposed 21% haircut on all Medicare fees across the board. If your practice generates $2M in revenue, 25% of that from Medicare, that equals a $100k paycut based on the same volume of business...or approximately $9k less every month.