KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

AMA Gives Qualified Support To Health Bill, Texas Docs Disagree

Austin American-Statesman: The Texas Medical Association split with the American Medical Association to announce its opposition to the health care bill that passed Sunday, saying: "We are disappointed and saddened that Congress and President Obama would pass a half-baked Senate proposal and call it 'Health System Reform.' The bill is simply bad medicine for patients and the state of Texas."  The president of the association added that "the legislation would increase health insurance costs for patients; cause federal government interference in health care; create incentives for patients to pay a fine for not having insurance; and does not expand Texas' malpractice protections to other states, a TMA goal."

The AMA offered qualified support for the bill, saying that "while the bill isn't perfect, it will cover 32 million more Americans, improve insurance competition and choice, eliminate caps on lifetime coverage and pre-existing conditions, in addition to promoting wellness and prevention programs." The Statesman includes a sampling of other reactions to the bill from other health groups (Roser, 3/22).

Palm Beach Daily News talks with a number of physicians about the bill. Norman Traverse, a physician in Palm Beach, worries about hospital paperwork, saying: "Hospitals margins are about 2 percent … There's no fat to cut. But there will be more reimbursement paperwork that may well affect the wait time in the emergency room." But, he added, they would have to "wait and see."

Meanwhile, "Dr. Michael Dennis, a plastic surgeon and surgical instrument company president who chaired the town's Medical Care Commission … noted that the health care industry successfully fought the Clinton Administration's attempts to push through health care reform in the 1990s. But he said this time around the industry is excited about the law" (Kelly, Donnelly, Davis, 3/22).

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