Sunday, November 1, 2009

The American Medical Association's Position on Healthcare Reform

I was at meeting recently where a representative of the American Medical Association (AMA) spoke about the organization's perspective on the current healthcare reform proposals under debate in the congress.

The AMA's template for reform includes:

1. Provide coverage for all

2. Insurance market reforms to expand affordable coverage, address pre-existing conditions, etc.

3. Assure health care decisions will be made by physicians (not insurers or government agencies)

4. Invest in prevention, wellness, and quality improvement.

5. Repeal Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate.

6. Medical liability reform.

7. Reduce administrative burdens.

The AMA's perspective is that physicians generally agree on these ideas, but differ on the proportions that each of these ideas should contribute toward reform.

My main disappointment is that during the conversation, the issue of universal coverage was discussed very little in proportion to issues of physician payment and such. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise considering that this was a physician's meeting, but I guess I expected more.

There was a representative on the panel discussing these issues who is a member of the "Coalition to Protect Patients' Rights." This person seemed pretty set that the only right reform was to give tax breaks to individuals and allow them to negotiate with their providers regarding the costs of care. I'm going to try and review this group a little more--I don't think this proposal has any validity, but I want to check into it before I criticize it.

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