Wednesday, September 9, 2009

AMA Supports Broad Health Reform in Open Letter to President and US Congress

The letter below, with a copy of the original here, puts the American Medical Association imprimatur on much of what the most liberal members of the US Congress have wanted in health care reform, including univeral access and Government spending to build an integrated medical system. Although the AMA includes tort reform on their list of items they support, I think we'd be getting a good deal to trade some access to courts for more access to medical care for all.

Because the AMA opposed Medicare when it was initiated in the 1960's, the Republicans surely believed they could count on the AMA to oppose health care reform now. President Obama has outmaneuvered the Republicans and turned their opposition, once more, into evidence that they are simply "the party of 'NO'!"

In this open letter to the President and the US Congress today, President Obama has achieved something that he has no doubt been seeking for at least a year now:
AMA Letterhead and Graffic

September 8, 2009

Open Letter to President Obama and Members of Congress

As our nation’s elected leaders, you have an historic opportunity to improve the health and well-being of the American public. On behalf of America’s physicians and their patients, we strongly urge you to reach agreement this year on health system reforms that include the following seven critical elements:
  • Provide health insurance coverage for all Americans
  • Enact insurance market reforms that expand choice of affordable coverage and eliminate denials for pre-existing conditions
  • Assure that health care decisions are made by patients and their physicians, not by insurance companies or government officials
  • Provide investments and incentives for quality improvement, prevention and wellness initiatives
  • • Repeal the Medicare physician payment formula that will trigger steep cuts and threaten seniors’ access to care
  • Implement medical liability reforms to reduce the cost of defensive medicine
  • Streamline and standardize insurance
The challenges in our health care system are many and complex. Enactment of the above policies will create the foundation for a stronger, better performing health care system, improve access to affordable, high-quality care and reduce unnecessary costs. Further, those who are currently insured, including Medicare patients, and those who are uninsured will all benefit from greater security and stability.

The American Medical Association and our individual members are working hard to improve health care delivery and quality through a broad range of initiatives to promote best practices and reduce unnecessary costs.

We reaffirm our commitment to work with each of you to adopt and implement health system reforms that will benefit all Americans.


J. James Rohack MD

Association Letterhead

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