Saturday, August 15, 2009

The AMA brings Sense to the Health Care Debate

Health care reform has been along time coming, and the American Medical Association has been voicing their opinion throughout the debate. The significant fact is that the AMA backs the main bill (H.R. 3200) that has come out of the House and has sent an email to physicians via their specialty societies outlining their rationale.

These issues have been continuously debated and modified for two generations, so when opponents of health care reform complain that it is being "rushed through", don't believe them. This is merely a ploy by the insurance lobby to delay passage so that they can stoke more fear. The AMA email:

Dear Doctor:
We knew the battle for health system reform was going to be tough; but who could have predicted we'd be dealing with allegations of euthanasia and death panels?...

...The volume has been ratcheted up considerably during the August congressional recess. With 24/7 cable and internet blogs going full steam, how does anyone know what to believe?...

First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that legislation in the House of Representatives (HR 3200) is very much a work in progress. The bill, as introduced, promised to achieve many of our collective high-priority goals:

  • Extending coverage to the uninsured
  • Making investments in the physician workforce
  • Providing long-term relief from Medicare's flawed physician payment formula
  • Increasing the nation's focus on preventive care and wellness initiatives
  • Simplifying administrative burdens for patients and physicians

I would add acouple salient points.

1) National tort reform has never been a priority of physician groups, with most specialty groups willing to emphasize legal experimentation on the state level.

2) Physicians tend to view health care as a value-added product which provides a more efficient work force. We need to deliver this product wihtin a workable, cost-effective "system".

The AMA has an excellent PDF of "frequently asked questions", and while this is designed to answer physicians' concerns I think it is useful for everyone to understand the perspective from which doctors are coming. Read it here.

Read the bill, it's only 1000 pages, triple spaced with huge font. It takes literally a weekend to get through it quickly. Don't listen to the illiterate morons extolling that it's evil.

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