Under pressure from members, the American Medical Association stated its official stance on a groundbreaking settlement proposed by Cigna Corp. last month in an Illinois class-action lawsuit over the insurer's dealings with doctors. The position: "The American Medical Association today stated that it unequivocally has taken no position in regard to the recent case . . . or in regard to the settlement agreement in that case." Initially, AMA President Yank Coble Jr., M.D., was quoted as saying that the settlement, which could end up costing Cigna as much as $200 million, "represents a significant step toward remedying abusive practices." Nineteen state medical societies complained to the AMA that Coble's statement was being used by Cigna to bolster its position in a larger class-action lawsuit now pending in Miami. The societies introduced a resolution at the AMA's midyear meeting in New Orleans asking the AMA to backtrack, and the AMA issued its brief statement yesterday. "An important part of what we're fighting for is a long-term and significant change in the way these companies do business," said Fred Merian, M.D., president of the Texas Medical Association. "The Cigna settlement comes up short in many ways." -- by Michael Romano
AMA clarifies stance on Cigna's Ill. settlement
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