The American Medical Association last week launched a campaign to reform the healthcare system through expanded consumer choice.
The doctor group, whose 475-member House of Delegates met last week in Chicago, rescinded its support of employer-mandated health coverage in favor of tax-exempt defined contributions that would encourage employees to select and purchase their own insurance.
The AMA had supported an employer mandate since 1989, but took some heat for wavering on that position in 1993 during the Clinton healthcare reform debate.
At the meeting, delegates also:
Formed a "negotiating unit" to bargain with managed-care plans. The provision calls on the AMA to increase funding to assist physicians in collective bargaining and work with federal antitrust enforcement agencies "to allow physicians to negotiate collectively."
Rejected a report by the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs discouraging doctors from selling nonprescription goods at their offices.
Oppose the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' sentinel event policy and urged the commission to suspend implementation of the policy until concerns about the potential release of confidential information and the cost of site visits are addressed.
Adopted principles for medical staff development plans, which are increasingly used to guide hospitals in determining qualifications for their physicians. The principles will be communicated to the American Hospital Association and state hospital associations.
n Resolved that hospitalist programs be voluntary for physicians and patients and that prospective health plan enrollees be notified if a plan uses hospitalists. Many physicians expressed support of physicians who specialize in inpatient care, but others worried that managed-care organizations would use economic arm-twisting to impose hospitalist programs.