The American Medical Association generally supports the basic elements of the ACA but has faced strong resistance from its more conservative members and state medical societies, who have tried to reverse the AMA's position backing the individual mandate. A recent Medical Group Management Association Survey found that physicians are wary about participating in health plans offered on the state insurance exchanges.
“Generally, I think the TMA is not red or blue—we're more purple,” said Dr. Stephen Brotherton, president of the TMA.
Brotherton introduced Cruz as someone who has gained notoriety for “defending his principles.” He told Modern Healthcare that “it's up to individuals if they agree with those principles.” He said he personally would have liked Cruz to have spent more time talking about healthcare reforms he supported rather than focusing on what he was against.
The TMA has published a long list of changes it wants to see in the law, including eliminating the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board, repealing provisions that limit physician ownership of hospitals, and adding limits on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice suits. http://www.texmed.org/template.aspx?id=20404
Cruz said he didn't agree with those who argue for letting Obamacare fail on its own. He called that a “bad Samaritan” strategy and a “terrible, cynical approach to politics” because it would allow millions to be hurt by the law in the meantime.
As example of those being hurt, Cruz cited the 15,000 spouses of UPS employees who would be losing their health insurance and 110,000 retired IBM employees who were being moved off the company's health plan and onto the state insurance exchanges.
Experts say the Affordable Care Act is only one factor behind employers modifying their employee and retiree health benefit plans.
Cruz twice mentioned a letter written by International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James Hoffa citing their problems with healthcare reform. He did not mention that Hoffa has called on Cruz and others to stop taking concerns outlined in the letter out of context to bolster their own arguments.
If the ACA is repealed, Cruz said it should be replaced with legislation that allows the interstate sale of health insurance, expansion of health savings accounts and de-linking health insurance from employment, which are longstanding elements of Republican health policy proposals. He didn't mention that some health policy experts, including conservatives, think the insurance exchanges established by the ACA actually begin the process of de-linking health insurance from employment.
Brotherton said he didn't want to assign blame for the government shutdown to either party or to factions within the GOP, but he added that the shutdown did slow momentum for replacing the Medicare sustainable growth-rate formula.