Several state medical societies have broken ranks with the American Medical Association by opposing sweeping healthcare legislation now before Congress.
Medical societies split from AMA to oppose reform bill
The AMA in a teleconference and in a statement March 19 announced its qualified support for the bill, saying the importance of insuring more Americans outweighed any imperfections.
In letter to its congressional delegation, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) failed to agree with the AMA. “We are writing to express our opposition to the health reform bill ... that will be before the U.S. House of Representatives this weekend. Please vote no,” the letter stated.
Among the group's concerns is that the legislation would create a physician payment board, “independent of and not answerable to Congress -- with the authority to unilaterally determine physicians' Medicare payments,” the TMA letter stated. Even if Congress were to fix Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula, this action “could be, and likely would be, ignored by this board,” the letter cautioned.
The TMA also claimed the bill would increase the cost of health insurance for patients and “dramatically enhance federal government interference, bureaucracy, and red tape for patients and physicians.”
Other medical organizations have come out in opposition, including the Medical Association of Georgia. The California Medical Association has expressed reservations similar to those of the TMA, and said it would continue to push for last-minute changes.
And a coalition of 23 surgical and anesthesiology groups sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) March 19, reiterating concerns about the proposed independent advisory board and no solution for a permanent repeal of the SGR.
During the AMA's teleconference, the group's president, J. James Rohack, acknowledged that Congress should “move immediately” to correct problems with the independent advisory board, as well as address Medicare's physician payment issues.
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