As I read the endorsement from the American Medical Association, I am not sure what is behind this. It is all well and good to think that qualifying this will make it more palatable to the many physicians who think this legislation has anything to do with delivering better health care to Americans. If all we wanted to do was cover more people, then the bill should have done just that, but in American legislation today, simple is never enough, it has to be far reaching and vague so as to change it when convenient. Want to improve healthcare, make primary care more attractive, allow insurance companies to compete across state lines and change the misplaced payment methods for physicians.
Waste is rampant, but little in this legislation really goes to the heart of this estimated $600 billion. Once the bill is passed, the AMA, the American Osteopathic Association and any other medical society will have less ground to stand on when looking for the necessary changes that really need to be made. It is a great thing to say we are going to cover millions more, but at what price? Perhaps if the medical associations were more apt to really listen to a majority of physicians—many of whom have stuck their heads in the sand, sadly—then the membership numbers would grow. This would really put some political power behind medicine.
Dr. Randy Bickle
President and medical directorOlympia Medical ServicesLivonia, Mich.