The American Medical Association's House of Delegates wrapped up its interim meeting in Houston with a long debate on healthcare reform that ended with a reaffirmation of its support for the House version of healthcare reform legislation—though it was stressed that its “support” is not necessarily an “endorsement.”
AMA reaffirms qualified support for reform
Several reform-related AMA resolutions were rolled into one omnibus measure that called for health insurance coverage for all Americans; the elimination of insurance denials for pre-existing conditions; and effective medical liability reform to reduce the cost associated with practicing defensive medicine. It also voiced opposition to a proposed independent Medicare commission; “arbitrary restrictions on physicians who refer Medicare patients to high-quality facilities in which they have an ownership interest”; and the creation of a single-payer, government-run healthcare system.
The resolution passed on a voice vote. A resolution calling for the AMA to switch from being neutral to opposing a government-run, public-option health plan was defeated by a 315-199 vote.
AMA President J. James Rohack said in a news release, “H.R. 3962 is not the perfect bill, and we will continue to advocate for changes that help make the system better for patients and physicians as the legislative process continues.”
The Medical Association of Georgia joined with other organizations to introduce a resolution rescinding the AMA's support of the Affordable Health Care for America Act. In a statement posted on its Web site, the group said it was “disappointed that the motions calling for the AMA to oppose a public health insurance option and to withdraw its support for H.R. 3692 failed. MAG will continue to promote what it believes is in the best interest of patients and the profession of medicine—a patient-physician relationship that is free of interference from the government or third-party payers.”
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