KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

AMA Backs Health Reform Plan, But Not All Doctors Are On Board

Even as Democratic leaders in Congress and President Obama tout the American Medical Association's support for the House health care overhaul proposal, eleven other medical societies are vocally rejecting the plan, American Medical News reports. "Led by the Medical Assn. of Georgia, seven other state and local medical societies and three surgical specialty societies signed a July 21 letter to Congress that opposes the legislation."

The letter said, "We adamantly oppose the following as inconsistent with quality medical care and the principles of freedom and liberty that lie at the heart of our form of government and our society." Republican Congressmen asked the AMA to reconsider its support in a letter to an executive of that association. "The bill would work against physician priorities by using a government-run plan to drive out private insurance competition, force Medicare-based rates on doctors and prompt many physicians to close their doors for good, they said."

AMA President J. James Rohack said the association supports the proposal because it doesn't require doctors who take Medicare patients to also accept patients covered by a proposed, government-run insurance plan, or forbid them from entering private contracts with patients. "We are committed to passing health reform this year, consistent with principles of pluralism, freedom of choice, freedom of practice and universal access for patients," Rohack said (Glendinning, 7/27).

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