KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

AMA Sticks With House Bill Endorsement

The American Medical Association, the official physician lobby, reiterated its endorsement of the House bill Monday. The Associated Press/The Washington Post reports that the AMA "on Monday rebuffed dissident members and voted to stick with support for ongoing health reform efforts, while reiterating wariness over proposals that threaten doctors' pocketbooks and independence. The action at the group's semiannual meeting in Houston could be seen as a vote of confidence for AMA leaders who voiced support for the $1.2-trillion, 10-year bill the U.S. House passed Saturday." Debate regarding proposals to change the group's policy position "spurred a lengthy debate Sunday that went on for more than eight hours. However, during a two-hour discussion Monday, delegates - physician members who set AMA policy - voted instead to follow the more moderate path chosen by AMA's leaders including its president, Dr. James Rohack" (Rhor and Tanner, 11/19).

Congress Daily also reports on the AMA's decision to maintain its endorsement of the House bill, "saying [the measure] was not perfect but was worth standing behind to move the overhaul effort forward. Some state medical associations and specialty societies rejected AMA's stance mainly over the House bill's inclusion of the public option" (11/10). 

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on surveys of physician opinion: "U.S. physicians are torn over what the government should do to make health care more available and affordable, but they're surprisingly like-minded about one perceived scourge - the insurance industry. As the U.S. Senate considers the health-care bill that narrowly passed the House over the weekend, polls and pundits have tried to gauge doctors' support for change. The most up-to-date national survey of physicians, published in September in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that most favored expanding health coverage to the uninsured through a government-sponsored program - the so-called public option. The House bill included this choice for needy individuals and small businesses, but it faces tough opposition in the Senate" (McCullough, 11/10). 

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports on another survey that found doctors are concerned about tort reform: "Seventy-four percent of American physicians believe they have less control over the way they practice medicine than they did five years ago, mostly due to medical malpractice litigation. That's according to a survey published Friday by Atlanta-based Jackson Healthcare, which also cited insurance and government interference as reasons. The majority, 85 percent, said the threat of medical malpractice litigation is their primary hindrance to practicing medicine as they see fit. ... The survey found that 62 percent of physicians disagreed with the American Medical Association's (AMA) stance on health care reform. ... [and] found other key elements physicians want included in legislation" (11/9).

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