Free Markets, Free People

AMA


About That AMA Endorsement

Yesterday President Obama took time out of what one would presume was a busy day to tout the fact that the AMA and the AARP had endorsed the latest House version of health care reform.

But it appears that some of the rank and file are none too happy with the endorsement. In fact many are quite upset that the endorsement was made prior to their meeting in Houston this weekend. There are moves afoot to introduce resolutions at the meeting to rescind the endorsement.

Former AMA president Stormy Johnson is preparing a resolution to rescind the endorsement, sources said. And the surgeons are introducing a resolution that would call on the AMA to actively oppose any legislation that includes a public option or a temporary doc fix or that doesn’t include medical malpractice reform.

A number of state associations are also upset with the AMA’s endorsement.

And, of course, not mentioned by President Obama were two doctor’s associations who came out opposing the legislation:

In fact, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons announced their opposition to the House bill today.

“Sadly, in the ongoing health care reform debate, the more things change, the more they stay the same. We could not support H.R. 3200, the ‘America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,’ which was introduced in the House last July and unfortunately, we must now oppose this new House bill too. It contains no significant changes or improvements when it comes to the issues we believe are vital for true health care reform in this country,” said AANS president Troy Tippett.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of the AMA’s meeting, but it appears, given the turmoil this endorsement has stirred, that the significance of the AMA’s endorsement should be taken with a grain of salt.

[HT: Abigail R.]

~McQ


Who Denies More Medical Claims Than All Others?

Well, unsurprisingly, it isn’t private insurance companies, in some cases by quite a large margin.  A chart from some recent research by Beverly Gossage of the Show-Me Institute makes the case:

AMAdenials

You remember the outcry about CIGNA’s denial of Natalee Sarkisian’s liver transplant a couple of years ago? Well, as you can see by the numbers the chance of denial from Medicare is much higher than one from CIGNA.

It is these sorts of facts which are not apparent in the constant demonization of private insurance.

Interestingly, the AMA has come out in favor of government “health care reform” – whatever that may mean. The irony is the information that Ms. Gossage found came from the AMA’s own 2008 National Health Insurer Report. Is this the type of “competition and choice” the government insurance introduced in a public option would bring? Higher denial rates than private insurance?

I guess that’s insurance “reform”.

~McQ


About That Claim That Doctors Support Obamacare

The Democrats have made the claim that the AMA, doctors and nurses all support the Obama plan for health care reform. But if a new IBD/TIPP poll is to believed, it is possible a large number of doctors would leave their practice if the present version of health care reform was passed:

Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted, a new IBD/TIPP Poll has found.

And, like most Americans, a majority of doctors polled found the administration claims to be unbelievable:

72% of the doctors polled disagree with the administration’s claim that the government can cover 47 million more people with better-quality care at lower cost.

Additionally:

Two-thirds, or 65%, of doctors say they oppose the proposed government expansion plan. This contradicts the administration’s claims that doctors are part of an “unprecedented coalition” supporting a medical overhaul.

Another fact that should be taken into consideration when the administration claims that the AMA supports their plan, presently the AMA only represents 18% of American physicians.

Four of nine doctors, or 45%, said they “would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement” if Congress passes the plan the Democratic majority and White House have in mind.

In 2006, there were 800,000 doctors practicing in the US. A 45% reduction would leave 440,000 doctors to treat the present insured population plus the 40 million more the administration plans to add.

I’ll leave it to you to do the math, but if you can figure out how fewer physicians and more patients equals less cost, better care and no changes in the health care you enjoy today, I’d be interested to hear it.

If the answer is “rationing care”, I believe we’ve been saying that for quite some time, haven’t we?

~McQ


Obama’s Visit With The AMA

I‘m not sure what part of this Obama doesn’t understand.

On the one hand, he told doctors at the AMA convention yesterday that he was not a fan of tort reform and felt that limits on malpractice cases was a disservice to those who were truly injured.

On the other hand he made this case:

Not long ago, doctors’ decisions were rarely questioned. Now they are being blamed for a big part of the wasteful spending in the nation’s $2.5 trillion health care system. Studies have shown that as much as 30 cents of the U.S. health care dollar may be going for tests and procedures that are of little or no value to patients.

The Obama administration has cited such findings as evidence that the system is broken. Since doctors are the ones responsible for ordering tests and procedures, health care costs cannot be brought under control unless they change their decision-making habits.

Somehow, apparently, he doesn’t understand the linkage. But AP’s Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar thinks there’s a much more basic reason than Obama not understanding the linkage:

If Obama announced support for malpractice limits, that would set trial lawyers and unions—major supporters of Democratic candidates—on the attack. Not to mention consumer groups.

Somebody has to go under the Obama bus and the apparent choice is doctors.

USA Today led its story about Obama at the AMA convention with this:

President Obama told wary doctors Monday that the nation’s health system is “a ticking time bomb for the federal budget” and said those who call his plan for a taxpayer-funded coverage option a step toward a government takeover of health care “are not telling the truth.”

Of course the one “not telling the truth” in this case is President Obama. Any “public” option funded by taxpayers is not going to be competing on the same level of the playing field as private insurance carriers. Right now there are 1,300 private choices out there. The introduction of a taxpayer funded “public” option will, according to many economic and health care experts, end up seeing employers dump private health care coverage in favor of public health care coverage and eventually see the system become a single-payer public plan.

That’s why there is such fierce opposition to this sort of an option. Even those in favor of the public option know it is a means to single payer and willingly admit it. So to have the President stand up in front of a group of doctors and tell the whopper he told yesterday is disappointing but not unexpected. He’s lowballed the cost, he’s dissembled about how it is going to be paid for and now he’s being totally disingenuous about the eventual end-state a public option would bring.

~McQ