Showing posts with label AMA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AMA. Show all posts

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The AMA Is A Political Whore

Before the recent presidential election, most doctors suspected that the American Medical Association is nothing more than a political lobbyist group pretending to act on behalf of physicians. In reality, they care more about money and politics than the welfare of doctors who they claim they represent. That is why only about 15% of physicians in this country still belong to the AMA. Now after the election, our suspicions have been confirmed.

Back during President Obama's first term in office, the AMA gave a crucial endorsement of the PPACA, aka Obamacare. A letter written by AMA President, Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, to the Wall Street Journal stated, "While the law is not perfect, the AMA, the nation's largest physician organization, supported it because it makes necessary improvements to our health care system." This nod of support from an organization claiming to represent the doctors of the country gave the politicians an alibi to vote for legislation that they knew to be seriously flawed. Even up to last year, a study published in JAMA by authors affiliated with the federal government, praised the effectiveness of the health law.

Meanwhile, a survey of 20,000 physicians found a different reality. Almost half of the doctors described Obamacare as a failure. Only a quarter considered it a success. Fully two thirds of doctors in the survey did not accept health insurance that were offered on the Obamacare insurance exchange markets. This highlights the flaws of the system, namely people had more access to insurance, but less access to actual healthcare.

Since the election of Donald Trump, the AMA has displayed a sudden shameless change of heart about its endorsement of Obamacare. When Trump nominated Tom Price, a Congressman from Georgia and orthopedic surgeon by trade, for the position of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the liberals were sent into fits of outrage. Why? Mr. Price has pretty much devoted his government career into devising ways to repeal Obamacare. The only reason he hasn't been more successful was because of Senate Democrats and President Obama. Now he and the Republicans are in a strong position to fulfill their vision.

So what does the AMA say when confronted by a person whose goal is to dismantle their major legislative accomplishment of the past decade? They heartily endorse Mr. Price for head of the HHS! What kind of logic is this? How can the AMA very publicly and loudly support a law that is despised by thousands of doctors yet quickly turn around and encourage the confirmation of the man who vows to destroy the same law?

The answer obviously is that the AMA has no moral or guiding principles other than political expediency and money grubbing. The AMA is like the prostitute who will sleep with the client with the most money. They don't care what acts they have to do to gain favor just as long as they are able to bring in more cash into the organization. If that means screwing their own membership, then so be it. Most doctors know that the AMA survives mainly as a legacy group with very little real support from the medical community. Nowadays doctors are more likely to be involved with their own state and national specialty societies than be in the AMA. But the AMA will continue to use its name recognition and historic relevance to push its own greedy survivalist agenda in Congress instead of acting on behalf of the doctors they falsely claim to represent. President-elect Trump just revealed that the American Medical Association is nothing but a government slut.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Doctors Got Screwed By Congress And The AMA Rejoices

Doctors' livelihoods were seriously damaged by the SGR fix that was recently passed by Congress. How can that be? The American Medical Association has been trumpeting its involvement in finally repealing the dreaded Sustainable Growth Rate legislation that has threatened the incomes of physicians every year for nearly two decades. How can removing this cloud over medicine be a bad thing?

No matter what the numbers say in the bill, the final outcome is that doctors will continue to lose money taking care of Medicare patients. And this loss continues at a steadily increasing rate over time. The Medicare Access and CHiP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) gives physicians a 0.5% raise every year for five years followed by a freeze for the next five. Seriously? We're supposed to be happy we've been given extra handouts worth a total of 2.5% over five years and nothing after that? That's barely more than what one year of medical inflation is currently running, which is about 2.46% in the last twelve months. At the end of ten years, physician incomes will be severely diminished by the ravages of inflation.

By comparison, the Los Angeles teachers union recently won approval of a 10% salary increase over the next two years. And if you count the back pay the teachers lost during the recession and that the union managed to claw back during negotiations, they are looking at nearly a 15% salary increase over the next 14 months. If doctors got a 15% raise in Medicare reimbursements, there would be parties at every medical office and Mercedes dealer across the country.

Let's not forget the poor primary care physicians who got seriously bait and switched by Obamacare. As part of the ACA's attempt to lure more PCP's into accepting Medicaid patients, they were granted a two year time period where Medicaid reimbursement was increased to the same as Medicare. Now that thousands of new Medicaid patients have found doctors, the government has taken that money away. MACRA sends PCP's down the river by not returning reimbursements back to the already abysmal Medicare levels, saddling thousands of doctors with Medicaid patients.

This new law also is not fully funded and will cost the government over $100 billion over the next decade. It will pass that debt down to our children and grandchildren and their grandchildren. If Congress wanted to sweep the cost of fixing the SGR under the rug so expeditiously, it could easily have done the same thing last year, or even ten years ago when it would have been much cheaper. Now that it's completed, I suppose an extra $100 billion added to the government's $18 TRILLION debt isn't such a big deal.

It's no wonder that barely one fourth of all doctors in the country have joined the AMA. Who would want to join an organization that thinks maintaining the status quo is a victory for doctors? The group needs to get their executive directors out of corporate headquarters and start practicing real medicine before all they are left with as members are medical residents and retirees.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How The AMA Is Like Kmart

I received the following spam from the American Medical Association.  It is beyond embarrassing. If the AMA truly felt they were performing such good service on behalf of doctors, they shouldn't have to peddle themselves at half price like some cheap linen sale at Kmart.  While most doctors opposed ObamaCare, the AMA endorsed it to give the administration cover.  In the meantime Medicare reimbursement is still scheduled to be cut 21% in, which month is it now?  April? May? October?  Whatever happened to tort reform?  Is that even on any legislative agenda between now and when hell freezes over?  Is it any wonder less than 25% of all physicians in the country belong to the AMA?  Until this once proud organization really starts paying attention to the needs of practicing physicians it will continue to dwindle and doctors as whole in this country will suffer.

Activate your 2010 membership for HALF the dues rate.
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Receive these benefits in full:
  • Privacy protection for individual Medicare reimbursement data - The AMA protects its members' privacy related to Medicare reimbursement because that privacy helps prevent erroneous conclusions from being drawn about individual physician competency as the raw Medicare reimbursement data does not, and was never intended, to measure the quality of care provided by a physician.

  • Live support (free) on the issues of fair contracting, accurate payment practice efficiency, clinical integrity, fee schedules and other practice management issues.

  • Free subscription to JAMA in print, plus free online access to JAMA & Archives journals with free CME. (over $200 value)

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