HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The AMA and a Public Health Care Option

The New York Times reported today that the AMA does not support a public health care option.  Robert Pear writes,

As the health care debate heats up, the American Medical Association is letting Congress know that it will oppose creation of a government-sponsored insurance plan, which President Obama and many other Democrats see as an essential element of legislation to remake the health care system. 

The opposition, which comes as Mr. Obama prepares to address the powerful doctors’ group on Monday in Chicago, could be a major hurdle for advocates of a public insurance plan. The A.M.A., with about 250,000 members, is America’s largest physician organization.

While committed to the goal of affordable health insurance for all, the association had said in a general statement of principles that health services should be “provided through private markets, as they are currently.” It is now reacting, for the first time, to specific legislative proposals being drafted by Congress.  . . .

But in comments submitted to the Senate Finance Committee, the American Medical Association said: “The A.M.A. does not believe that creating a public health insurance option for non-disabled individuals under age 65 is the best way to expand health insurance coverage and lower costs. The introduction of a new public plan threatens to restrict patient choice by driving out private insurers, which currently provide coverage for nearly 70 percent of Americans.”If private insurers are pushed out of the market, the group said, “the corresponding surge in public plan participation would likely lead to an explosion of costs that would need to be absorbed by taxpayers.” . . .

Later in the day, ThinkProgress reports on the AMA release in response to the New York Times story which somewhat softens its stance:

Today’s New York Times story creates a false impression about the AMA’s position on a public plan option in health care reform legislation. The AMA opposes any public plan that forces physicians to participate, expands the fiscally-challenged Medicare program or pays Medicare rates, but the AMA is willing to consider other variations of the public plan that are currently under discussion in Congress. This includes a federally chartered co-op health plan or a level playing field option for all plans. The AMA is working to achieve meaningful health reform this year and is ready to stand behind legislation that includes coverage options that work for patients and physicians.(emphasis from ThinkProgress site).

Neither the folks at ThinkProgress or Ezra Klein are too impressed with this release. 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlawprof_blog/2009/06/the-ama-and-a-public-health-care-option.html

| Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bfae553ef011570f6bdad970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The AMA and a Public Health Care Option:

Comments

Post a comment