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Ear to the Ground

AMA Lines Up Against Public Health Insurance Plan

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Posted on Jun 11, 2009
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blogs.knoxnews.com

Does the AMA’s opposition to a government-sponsored insurance plan really put patients first? Here doctors protest a planned 10 percent cut in the Medicare reimbursement formula last year.

The health care debate takes another turn as the American Medical Association says it will oppose implementation of a government-sponsored medical insurance plan. The AMA’s justification for selling out to private insurance companies? A public insurance plan competing with private firms would limit patient choices.

The New York Times:

As the health care debate heats up, the American Medical Association is letting Congress know that it will oppose creation of a government-sponsored insurance plan, which President Obama and many other Democrats see as an essential element of legislation to remake the health care system.

The opposition, which comes as Mr. Obama prepares to address the powerful doctors’ group on Monday in Chicago, could be a major hurdle for advocates of a public insurance plan. The A.M.A., with about 250,000 members, is America’s largest physician organization.

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By auto insurance discounters, June 29, 2011 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

I wonder what percentage of AMA members would take a pay cut if it meant that more patients could be served.  My guess is not many.  Obviously publicly they would not state this but on the down low I cannot see many actually following through on this.

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By Gabby Sanchez, October 27, 2009 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So everyone thinks they have a right to someone
else’s (the doctors) labor? Slavery was abolished a
while ago, I thought.

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By KDelphi, June 22, 2009 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

john—I feel that drs who insist on fee-for-service, and keeping the insurance industry in place, need to remember their Hippocratic Oath—-it is bankrupting the country, not to mention killing people….

Mayo and Cleveland Clinic drs do just fine on salary. If a dr cant, he should go work for Cheney or someone.

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By john, June 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No one seems to understand that physician compensation is not what is bankrupting America but the perverse incentives it creates. Altogether physician compensation costs 8% of healthcare costs. You can cut it in half but you still have a very expensive system. Giving physicians incentives to save costs (like paying physicians for their time, not by how many procedures they do) would save a ton. Giving patients incentives (like making them pay a fraction of the costs of treatments based on income) would probably save more. It’s all about the incentives. No one, neither the patient nor the physician is inherently evil

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By KDelphi, June 13, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther—I know. I just cant give up on this one.

I found out I cant even take a part time job that I wanted, so I just dont have an alternative, unless I can afford to move out of the uS.

Here’s a Washington Post article about members of “representatives” (lol)  and their “investments”.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/12/AR2009061204075.html

The “health care industry” holdings are bad enough, but look at these guys disclosures on Wall St and bogus real estate, and selling off of Lehman Bros!! Gawd!!

Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments
Key Players Have Stakes in Industry


By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 13, 2009

“Almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments in a sector that could be dramatically reshaped by this summer’s debate.”

Now I have to go have a neighbor pull one of my teeth with a pair of pliers—no kidding. Then, I gotta get drunk.

Then, Monday, I have to go get a steroid injection in my left hig, wrist, and foot, from a friend who is a nurse practitioner.

This is simply ridiculous…

Theyve got us where they want us. NO one can call for a boycott of private insurance industry, except doctor and nurses who are on patients’ side. And, there are too many who will do anything for a buck.

And, those who do care, end up taking positions where they can barely make a living. The exceptions are places I have been treated at, before Medicaid patients were forced into HMOs, like Mayo Clnic aND Cleveland Clinic Foundation. NOw, I dont even have a family dr that has a license to practice in my state. (they dont have to be licensed, at Med HMO or VA)

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By Folktruther, June 13, 2009 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment

The major problem is not merely the medical profession; it is a leading element of the professional class, which largely supports the power structure led by the members of the ruling class.  the ruling and professioonal clases are the Educated classes, who control the learned and mass media and other truth organs, and both political parties.

The Dem party used to be driven by the unions, but the Dems have switched their base of support to the suburbs, and to professional-managers.  They have more money, you see, especially with the monstrous class inequality fostered by the power structure.  Since the Dems only have competition from the Gops, who are even worse than they are, they can be driven by the medical and other professions with the only losers being the American population. 

As Shaw said, all professions are a conspiracy against the liaity, and never more so than under Bush-Obama.  the chances of getting meanfulful health reform from Obama is about that of the survival of a snowball in hell with its blood pressure elevated.

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By terry p, June 13, 2009 at 2:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

KDelphi, June 12 at 4:42 pm #

Thanks for these links:
http://www.calnurses.org/

Single Payer Action:
http://www.singlepayeraction.org/

Progressive Dems of Am:
http://pdamerica.org/articles/news/2009-06-12-09-41-02 -news.php

(story there of Conyers, who is sponsoring HR 676—Medicare for All)

and Health Care Now!

http://www.healthcare-now.org/news-from-the-nationa l-day-of-action-for-single-payer/

tp

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By KDelphi, June 12, 2009 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Cathy—I empathize. Divided We Fail is funded by AARP, which backed the Medicare Advantage privitization schemes, which are intended, by neo-cons to bankrupt Medicare, in my opinion.

I have been fighting for the human right of health care (among other things) here in ‘Merka for many years, and, I never cease to be amazed what extent so-called Liberals will go to, to join so- called Conservatives in defending the status quo.

Health Care for All, calls for a Massachusetts type plan, which is just not affordable and leaves many out. If they are “well-intentioned” they are ignoring the facts…

I got a load of crap from them, too—they wanted me to “tell my story”(!) and I said, “well you had better hear how I feel about health “insurance” first..”—they said that they would “get back to me”—surprise—they didnt.

Try these groups, it you haven already and never surrender. It is life or death for thousands, Thank you, it is hard to describe to people who have never been turned away for necessary health care, and, who have not gone heavily into debt, just to survive..

Physicians for a Natl Health Plan
http://www.pnhp.org/

California Nurses Assoc:

http://www.calnurses.org/

Single Payer Action:
http://www.singlepayeraction.org/

Progressive Dems of Am:
http://pdamerica.org/articles/news/2009-06-12-09-41-02-news.php

(story there of Conyers, who is sponsoring HR 676—Medicare for All)

and Health Care Now!

http://www.healthcare-now.org/news-from-the-national-day-of-action-for-single-payer/


THANKS!!! for giving a damn…

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By rage96, June 12, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course, the AMA is against a public option or a singler payer program. These greedy cretins have been the overcompensated beneficiaries of insurance and pharmaceutical corporate avarice for years. They’ve even stabbed the nursing profession in the back to guarantee that nothing and no one stood in the way of their profiteering at the expence of the patient’s health. A patient is rarely the AMA’s top priority. The Hippocratic Oath is nothing more than the quaint, antiquated prose whose congregate recitation closes out the medical graduation ceremony at too many medi-god factories that presumptuously dare to call themselves institutions of medical education. Human life is expendable in Amerika’s slimy for-profit human health maintenance tenticle of the global corporacratic beast.

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By Misfiteye, June 12, 2009 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

Through what mechanism would a public plan push the private insurers out of the market?

By providing better service for less money prehaps?

If Private Plans are so great, why can’t they compete?

The only ones who would be hurt by a public plan are the Corps. who skim billions of your healthcare dollars to finace their opulent office buildings and risky headge fund ventures.

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By Cathy, June 12, 2009 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

I know I’m ragging on NPR lately about the health care issue, but they made a big deal about that strong lobbying group, the AMA.  To be sure, they are powerful, but I read yesterday that only 25% of doctors now belong to the AMA, and more doctors are quitting all the time because they are in favor of single-payer.  Of course, you think that NPR bothered to add that little 25% tidbit.  The AMA’s voice can be drowned as the other groups become more powerful.  I believe it will happen. 

I joined Divided We Fail several months ago, thinking that they were also in favor of health care for all via single payer.  Well, they sent me a survey this morning and in the comment section of the survey I gave them an earful on what I thought about AARP and UnitedHealthCare.  Their stance is, of course, all smoke and mirrors.  These organizations, when it comes to really caring about people, are wolves in sheep clothing looking to round up a bunch of sheeple with their BS.  Well, I pride myself in running against the herd.  I refuse to be a sheeple.

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By G.Anderson, June 12, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

The AMA may not understand this yet but they soon will. Medicine in this country is in it’s death throws.

Unless, reform is passed now, there will be a catastrophe for doctors all over this country. People will simply continue to turn away from medicine, for many, many reasons, one of which is they cannot afford it anymore.

The AMA’s short sightedness, is exactly like what we saw in those who ran GM. For years they fought reform and enviornmental concerns, and bought off congress. In the end they destroyed themselves. This pattern is being repeated in almost every industry in this country. Now it’s the health industry’s turn.

Unless the AMA, faces the facts, American’s will turn increasingly away from medicine to alternative forms of treatment, to traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, herbalsim, self care.. etc. Just as foreign car companies provided a better product than American care companies did, so too are Americans becoming increasingly in favor of alternative forms of health care.

In the end the AMA, will be just another GM.

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By tp, June 12, 2009 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m not surprised that the money hungry AMA has sided with the insurance companies. I’m sure politics and arm twisting tactics were used in the AMA membership as there are many Doctors who actually entered the profession to heal and improve the lives of people. But all too often we see physicians rip off the system for millions and take early retirement in their mansion on an exotic beach somewhere with their millions from their bloody expensive practice, which excluded the uninsured. Let’s not confuse the meaning of business and compassion. We are familiars with the Mafia term, “Nothing personal, its only business”.
Part of a Bill Moyers intereview about business verses health care:
….But leaving nothing for granted, the industry is pouring big money into lobbying, more than half a billion dollars last year alone, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. They’re also shelling out megabucks for a publicity blitz and ads attacking Obama’s public plan or any health care reform that threatens to reduce the profits from sickness and disease.

TV ADVERTISEMENT: With Congress starting on health care, let’s remind the politicians, Americans know what works.

BILL MOYERS: This is from a group calling themselves Conservatives for Patients’ Rights. They’ve been spending more than a million dollars on ads like this in the month of May alone. They’ve hired a conservative public relations firm called CRC. You remember CRC - the same high-minded folks who brought you the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the gang who savaged John Kerry’s service record in Vietnam. Just who runs Conservatives for Patients’ Rights?

RICHARD L. SCOTT: Let’s have real reform that puts patients first.

BILL MOYERS:The guy in the ads. His name is Richard L. Scott, an entrepreneur who took over two hospitals in Texas and built the largest health care chain in the world, Columbia/HCA.

In 1997, Scott was fired by the board of directors after the company was caught ripping off the feds and state governments for hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus Medicare and Medicaid payments, it was the largest such fraud in history. The company had to cough up $1.7 billion dollars to get out of the mess. Scott got off - you should pardon the expression - scot-free. According to published reports he waltzed away with a $10 million dollar severance deal and $300 million worth of stock. So much for lower overhead.

Rick Scott and other like-minded industry representatives have made their views known. Meanwhile only a handful of expert witnesses in favor of the single-payer option have been allowed to testify in the many congressional hearings on health care reform held this year…
The only way forward is single payer for all. Take the profit out. HR 676 is the right bill by John Conyers.
tp

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By Purple Girl, June 12, 2009 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

“Patient healthcare is our Priority” BS!
It’s your lavish homes, your yachts, your Cessna’s, your countryu club memberships….
If the AMA and it’s overpaid membership would actually do what is good for citizens- I’d support capping medical malpractice claims and premiums. I’d work towards educating the public that medicine is still JUST an art, and that death is often unavoidable. Work on Re educating people that MD’s are not Gods and do make honest mistakes which do not deserve legal action.Only allow those cases where malice is present to be worthy of Judicial review either for criminal prosecution or to attain damages.
Why are the most needy areas and demographics the least served by the medical profession- MONEY. Few Docs want to work in poor urban/rural areas. Few Docs want to work in Geriatrics. Few Docs even go into OB/GYN because their malpractice insurance will cost them a luxury vacation every year.
If these so called ‘medical Professionals’ adhered to their Hippocratic ( or should we say Hypocritic) Oath instead of worshipping at the alter of greed, perhaps they might find the public would be less inclined to want to sue them whenever they have a lil’ fuck up. and they do fuck up!
So go ahead AMA Docs, don’t supprt this reform and we’ll be sure to not push for Torte Reform or Lower malpractice insurance premiums- and we’ll sue (or prosecute) You, every chance we get!

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By P. T., June 11, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

The AMA is a butchers’ union.

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By RobertinWestbury, June 11, 2009 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Their concern for our ‘choices’ is based entirely on their concern for their profits…

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

herewegoagain—90% is 0%. Look, no one could convince you. Experience will. This is a life or death issue. To me, there is no half-assed. The only reason to support a “public option” is to shift the paradigm so that people will see that “saving money” on “health insurance” in not consistent with a “mkt based system”. There is simply no moral way to cut costs when there is a profit motive, when the “cuts” are never shifted to the monied.

Even now, they are talking about “the costs have to go somewhere”—well, guess where they will go.

Its not personal to you. I just have experiences, that, as Dr Margaret Flowers is saying right now, that cause me to believe “public option” will only further fragment the pool and privitize the market.

You guys will see. If you are “for single payer” you sure have a strange way of showing it. Taking up for the rich, in the uS, is not exactly a novel position.

I’ll just say that you “back it 100%” and we’ll end the discussion, as it is, there.

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By herewegoagain, June 11, 2009 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

KDelphi, your personal experiences are carefully read, duly noted, and understood.

Now could you please return the favor when you read my posts. I am not “against” single payer in the least, and have stated so several times now on a few different threads on the subject.

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By Tyler, June 11, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Do your homework Ed, countries where there is universal healthcare also provide medical education from the government.  Many medical students in the US graduate with $200k+ in debt.  These same universal care countries also have ceilings and control over malpractice.  US doctors also more hours than physicians in these countries which also leads to greater salary.  Besides the US has the best doctors in the world, many people in these universal care countries come to the US for care…all these reasons tell us why doctors should and will make more than those in Canada, France, etc…

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By NYCartist, June 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

AMA membership is shrinking.  Other groups of physicians are pro-singlepayer.  Not only did the AMA oppose Medicare, they opposed social security disability.  It’s in Robert Caro’s book on LBJ:Master of the Senate.

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

herewegoagain—go and watch the link. Yes, plenty of drs turn away poor people everyday. I saw it as a Medical Social Worker. Some drs HAVE to whether they like it or not. It is not UP to drs as things are now,  they cant treat many poor people—they are not allowed too!! That is why most drs who went into it for the right reason support single payer..

I saw my father die early of brain cancer, saw my sister file bankruptcy over breast cancer and cannot return to work , although I have a Masters degree, because i am afaid of losing Medicaid and, you bet your a** it makes me angry!(I know I told you before—but I FOUND another job—but it is part time and I cant take it! How would YOU feel??) It could happen to you tomorrow , if you happen to be walking on a street or riding a bike where a drunk driver is paying no attention.If the Dems plan go through, you had better hope that you dont, and I wouldnt wish it on anyone..
I had a 32 yr old man die right in front of me, because they “didnt take Medicaid” in time.He was mentally disabled and didnt even understand what was happening, really,so I let him think he was “going to heaven”. I coudl give a hundred of examples and it makes me want to sob when I hear people talking about the profits..its just not right!

Maybe , as I said on another thread, you should “live” a little before you come out against what you dont understand.

If you havent seen it, that explains why you dont get it. PLEASE check out the link or go to
http://www.pnhp.org/

http://www.calnurses.org/

HR 676—Conyers, Kucinich et al bill for Medicare for All

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:H0PfIwlLB-QJ:www.pnhp.org/nhibill/nhi_bill_final.pdf+hr+676+bill&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Sen Sanders Bill (starts with Community care)

http://www.singlepayeraction.org/blog/?p=274

If I didnt care passionately about it, I would not have made it my life. It sure didnt pay very well—I am sticking up for YOU—and all my fellow citizens (NOT “consumers”) and patients, when they are sick…

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By Rodger Lemonde, June 11, 2009 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unfortunately the best defense is good health. Which is not an option for all too many.
What bugs me is that health workers can compartmentalize their good and caring side from their avaricious side.

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

Here is the link to the uS Senate Comm on Health, etc.

just in case someone is interested. PNHP is there…

http://help.senate.gov/Hearings/2009_06_11/2009_06_11.html

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By pkam, June 11, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why is it that under the guise of maximizing consumer “choices” for health care, conservatives always insist on eliminating the one option I’d choose: Government run health insurance?

The government is not in the business of maximizing profit, as private companies are essentially mandated to do. This makes them a better choice to provide this service since they don’t have any incentive to limit my care.

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By yours truly, June 11, 2009 at 11:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Since the A.M.A. also opposed Medicare 44 years ago, no surprise that the AMA is against a government-sponsored insurance plan.  Then, as now, the A.M.A warned of the dangers of socialized medicine.  Then, as now, it put its laissez faire ideology before the interests of doctors, patients & the public.  What’s more, if it practiced full disclosure, the AMAs choice on what sort of health care system is best for America would have little or no credibility, due to the conflict of interest that arises from the organization, its publications & conferences being so heavily subsidized by big Pharma & health insurance corporations.  Seems the AMA has always been on the side of Wall Street, not Main Street, which explains why it opposes a single payer plan.

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By herewegoagain, June 11, 2009 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

KDelphi writes: “I have seen doctors like this turn people away and have seen the results. They should be ashamed of themselves.”

If you really have seen that, that explains a lot why you’re so irate with my take on doctors making profit.

It is hard for me to believe such doctors are the norm, though.

I once argued with a doctor on a local paper’s Internet forum - he had written an essay on why he was against single payer, and actually said “government mandates mean any bum can show up at a hospital for a free meal.”

I basically told him he was pure evil.

I still think doctors like that are the exception, though.

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

I would refer people to Physicians for Natl Health Plan, and let them decide which doctors are really “concerned about patient care”. Or California Nurses Association.

If a doctor is in in for the money, go treat someone who can pay cash like Cheney or Bush.

I have seen doctors like this turn people away and have seen the results. They should be ashamed of themselves.

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By herewegoagain, June 11, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ed, here is a link to the average physician’s salary for a variety of specialties: http://www.allied-physicians.com/salary_surveys/physician-salaries.htm

As you can see, physicians are paid extremely well, far more than the average person, yet few top a million a year. And they actually use their skills to save lives, unlike HMO execs who do the opposite.

And keep in mind that US doctors have to pay for their medical education, which usually leaves them hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. French doctors don’t have to pay anything beyond a few thousand in fees for their education.

I state all this so we don’t turn doctors into the enemy here. It’s the AMA that is coming out swinging against a public option, but I’m sure many AMA *members* not only support such an option, but single payer in general.

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By Ed Harges, June 11, 2009 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

In other wealthy countries - such as France or Canada - where there is universal health care coverage, doctors are paid well, but not as lavishly as in the US, especially relative to the typical person’s income. Doctors are practically royalty here, and they don’t want to give that up. That’s really what’s at stake: their medical elite status and lifestyle. The misery of the many sweetens the happiness of the few.

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