Friday, November 6, 2009

Doctor-Led Coalition Stunned by AMA Decision to Endorse Government-Run Healthcare…Again…

-(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dr. Donald Palmisano, spokesman for the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights and former president of the American Medical Association (AMA), issued the following statement after learning the American Medical Association had decided to endorse H.R. 3962 just days before the AMA House of Delegates was scheduled to meet and discuss the Bill:

“I am absolutely shocked. It is unfathomable that the AMA leadership wouldn’t wait for the House of Delegates meeting this weekend to have a full, open, and honest debate on whether the AMA should support this piece of legislation.

“AMA leadership knows that the membership is opposed to continued government-expansion into medicine and it is long-standing AMA policy. And they also know the massive rank-and-file movement to debate health system reform legislation at the upcoming House of Delegates meeting. Current AMA policy is to support fixes in problems that exist in the health financing system and keeps patients in control of their care. H.R. 3962 thwarts that principle and should not have been supported by the AMA Board.

“What’s even more stunning is that at its last meeting in Chicago, shortly after President Obama spoke to the AMA membership, the House of Delegates specifically eliminated language to ‘support public option alternatives’ under certain circumstances. It was vigorously debated and voted down. Today, for the second time since that meeting less than six months ago, AMA leadership has gone behind closed doors and behind the backs of membership to support government-run healthcare.

“The current bill has disaster in the details.

“It cuts more than $500 billion from Medicare, costing seniors they healthcare they deserve. It also cuts billions in hospital payments, forcing hospitals to layoff essential personnel or even worse, close their doors. And it introduces a Medicaid-for-all government-run public insurance plan that will fix prices so low that patients won’t be able to get the care they need.

“I hope that the AMA leadership reconsiders its support of the bill and, instead, listens to its membership to oppose further government intrusion into the practice of medicine. The last thing patients need – when their life is on the line – is a government bureaucrat telling physicians what they can and cannot do or prescribe.”

The Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights supports reform that will help improve the healthcare system. The Coalition has made the follow points with Member of Congress and their staffs on health system reform:

1. The U.S. has the best healthcare in the world and any reform must enhance that care, not weaken it, and it must keep the patient in control.
2. The government-controlled public option is bad policy and divisive to the overall debate. If passed, it would lead to substandard care, waiting lines to see a doctor, and an end to medical innovation. It should be taken off the table.
3. Medicare currently reimburses doctors and hospitals less than the cost of providing many services. Any more cuts could affect seniors’ care. There shouldn’t be any cuts to Medicare.
4. Affordable access to healthcare for the uninsured must be expanded. There are market-based approaches that can accomplish this goal without a complete government overhaul.
5. The quickest way to slow the healthcare cost curve is through comprehensive medical malpractice reform.

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