Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE Menu


Physician Frustration With President Obama’s Healthcare Reform Plan and the AMA Endorsement : Part 1


Stanley Feld M.D,FACP,MACE


Physicians are not opposed to healthcare reform. The present healthcare system is broken. It has functioned poorly for both insured and uninsured patient as well as physicians. It has hindered physicians’ ability to deliver quality care. Neither President Obama nor congress is asking practicing physicians what the real problem are and what the suggested solutions are.

Finally, practicing physicians are realizing there is a way to express their frustrations. Practicing physicians are expressing their frustration through the social network Sermo and their individual blogs.

Most physicians want to do the best job they can for their patients. President Obama is focusing on the wrong issues and ignoring important issues like decreasing bureaucracy, malpractice reform to reduce defensive medicine, and increasing individuals responsibilities for their health and healthcare.

According to the Sermo survey, physicians consider important issues to be limiting insurance company’s and government’s ability to deny care; tort reform and settlement caps, and changing the law to allow doctors to negotiate collectively with insurers.

President Obama is focused on saving money by spending money and taking total control of the healthcare system. The healthcare insurance industry and hospitals are focused on making money. Physicians, in general, are interested in taking care of patients’ medical needs and maintaining the special quality of the patient physician relationship while making a living commensurate with their training, patient care responsibilities and liability.

The difference in focus of the government and other secondary stakeholders is not necessarily in the best interests of patients care. In evaluating HR3200 a Sermo editorial by Eric Novack M.D. begins:

 “The 1018 page bill was just released on Tuesday morning Arizona time— it is simply impossible that the AMA could have read the full bill and the associated statutes that are amended within the bill, AND do the analysis of the impact on the medical profession in the states.”

Having been able to actually read the first 200 pages of the bill so far, it is clear that physician autonomy and patient freedom are the last items on the minds of the Congressional leaders and their staffers that have written the bill.

Eric Novack M.D.”

In the name of politics, the AMA was quick to endorse HR 3200. Its endorsement is incomprehensible to me.

“There’s a perception that the (American Medical Association) doesn’t represent the general consensus of the physician community,” said Sermo CEO Dr. Daniel Palestrant.

I thought I might have been missing something in HR 3200. I have been a member of the AMA since 1965.

“Today, the American Medical Association sent a letter to House leaders supporting H.R. 3200, "America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009."

I believe President Obama had given the AMA the notion that it could negotiate reform with the Obama administration. It was obvious that the Obama administrations mind was made up a long time ago. President Obama was calling for a bill on his desk by August recess.

"The status quo is unacceptable," Dr. Rohack President of the AMA said.

I agree with this.

"We support passage of H.R. 3200, and we look forward to additional constructive dialogue as the long process of passing a health reform bill continues. This is an important step, but one of many steps in the process.”

This is an unbelievable statement in face of the draconian provisions in HR3200 and President Obama ultimate goal of total government control of the healthcare system. President Obama has stated he is for a single party payer system. These are President Obama’s statements on You Tube that are statements that are made in context.

The government controls Medicare. Medicare premiums have increased annually, Medicare deductibles have increased annually as have non allowed services (rationing). Physician reimbursement has decreased annually. A 20% decrease is scheduled for 2010. This decrease would reduce reimbursement to below a physicians costs to provide the service.

Healthcare administrative services are outsourced to the healthcare insurance industry. The healthcare insurance industry charges the government twenty (20) percent for the administrative services it provides. The government claims an overhead of two percent because the government administrative services for outsourcing the administrative services is 2 %. Scandals of delays in physician reimbursement by government outsourced healthcare insurance vendors have occurred from Hawaii to Maine.

The AMA knows all of this. Physicians know past behavior is the predictor of future behavior. Why would the AMA think the Democratic controlled congress and administration change its past behavior in the face of increasing budget deficits?

Its goal is single party payer. I imagine the AMA thinks it can make a deal with the Obama administration and congress because of President Obama’s generalized rhetoric.

All Americans must WAKE UP before it is too late. Write your congressional representatives and go to Town Hall meetings this month to make your opinion known.

I would suggest the following note.

“We do not want the government to control our lives and increase our taxes. We want affordable, universal healthcare coverage that does not limit access to care. We want control over our healthcare dollars.

You can reach you Congressional Representative with the links below.


The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

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