Skip to comments.Donít Let This Happen To Your Profession: AMA Culpable In Our Government Healthcare Fiasco
Posted on 09/29/2013 6:42:05 AM PDT by Kaslin
If you think Obamacare is bad for consumers and patients think about this: how would you like to spend between twelve and sixteen years of your life in grueling and expensive academic training, only to have politicians and bureaucrats dictating to you years later how you will practice your craft and how much money youll be allowed to earn?
Lets be clear about medical doctors. Any individual who can genuinely earn the title M.D. is worthy of significant respect, and one would hope that an entire association of M.D.s would be equally as worthy. Unfortunately the American Medical Association the professional group that has purported to represent physicians in the U.S. for over a century - managed to foolishly get itself caught in the crossfire of the Obamacare war over the past few years. Now, MDs both those few who remain members of the AMA and the majority of physicians who are not members as well as the practice of medicine itself, are all set to be big losers in the coming months and years.
According to their website, the associations stated mission is to promote the art and science of medicine for the betterment of the public health; to advance the interests of physicians and their patients; to promote public health; to lobby for legislation favorable to physicians and patients; and to raise money for medical education. It is also noteworthy that the group originally opposed Medicare, the U.S. federal governments program that provides healthcare reimbursements for elderly and disabled persons, fearing that undue government intrusion in the medical profession would damage the doctor-patient relationship and be detrimental to the profession itself.
But soon after Medicares beginnings in 1965, the A.M.A. changed their position. The associations members and leadership both realized that government-funded health care through Medicare produced a steady stream of patients and more guaranteed reimbursements for services in short Medicare in its early days guaranteed wages for MDs. Thus for all of my lifetime, the A.M.A. has aggressively lobbied the U.S. Congress against cuts in Medicare funding as they have periodically been proposed.
Over the years the A.M.A. has also supported tight government limits on medical school entries likely because doing so limited the supply of new M.D.s, drove up the demand for existing MDs, and thereby enhanced the wages of those who actually managed to get in to the profession. On this point the late Economist Milton Freidman once noted that the A.M.A. had become a guild, and was shielding its present-day members from the potential competition of future would-be Doctors.
Yet after decades of love and appreciation for the ways in which big government can shelter you from market competition and put money in your pocket, and with its membership dramatically in decline, the A.M.A. changed its public policy stance in mid-2009. After only a few months of President Obama in the White House, it was at that time that the association reverted back to being skeptical of government power, and publicly opposed President Obamas healthcare reforms.
The federal government had at that point been exhibiting a years-long pattern of dictating to physicians how much they would be paid for specific procedures (rather than allowing doctors to set their own rates for services), and A.M.A. membership had begun to dwindle party as a result of this loss. The association thus surmised that Obamacare would give the government even more power to determine how much doctors could be paid, and told the President no regarding his early legislative efforts.
But months later the A.M.A. changed their minds again. Facing pressure from both the White House, and President Obamas Organizing for America community organizer group, the A.M.A. hedged a bit back in 2010 and sheepishly agreed to Obamas reforms in principle. This caused even more member physicians to leave the association, even as the President portrayed it as a courageous move.
But wait, theres more! In June of 2012, less than four months before the presidential election, the A.M.A. changed its collective minds yet again, when the associations President Dr. Peter Carmel announced their official renewed opposition to Obamacare. At the associations annual summer convention, Carmel declared what many of us had been concerned about for quite some time; that placing more government bureaucrats and lawyers between a patient and a physician, Obamacare would make healthcare more expensive and less rewarding for all involved. Further, Carmel noted that President Obamas law does not address the dwindling of Medicare reimbursements to M.D.s, nor does it address the ever-escalating threat of medical malpractice lawsuits, a major source of healthcare cost increases.
And now here we are, a little more than a year after the A.M.A. officially decided that Obamcare was a bad deal, and were all experiencing the anguish of the federal take-over of the medical profession. The otherwise honorable and essential work of high educated physicians will be gradually replaced with less educated and less costly nurses and P.A.s (physicians assistants); existing physicians will have their reimbursement rates further reduced; veteran doctors are already leaving the profession or abandoning their small private practices to find a job at larger hospitals and corporately owned facilities; and some physicians are fighting to continue practicing their craft entirely apart from any involvement with insurance companies (check out the website Iwantdirectcare.com for evidence of healthcare without insurance).
President Thomas Jefferson once famously said that a government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have." The A.M.A.s flirtation with the guarantee of patients via Medicare, and the present-day derailing of the medical profession via Obamacare, illustrates Jeffersons wisdom quite vividly.
The A.M.A.s foolishness demonstrates the destructive combination of being high trained in ones profession, yet not comprehending the most basic facets of government, economics, and public policy.
The AMA, like so many professional trade associations, attracts the “bureaucratically minded” among a certain trade, and not the real movers and shakers. This is why most trade associations are more liberal than the entire universe of that trade. American Bar, all teahers unions, AARP, Realtors, etc - the associations are all to the left of their membership.
(dang, that was profound....)
...so.....these good business-folk...just unknowingly get sucked in by gubmint.....????
The AMA story, as recounted in the article, is merely an illustration of the old adage about laying down with dogs and getting up with fleas. I’m old enough to remember how strongly they opposed Medicare in the 60s and now they have the proof of their previous principled stand on government intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship through reimbursement rates. Quite simply, they were seduced by the dollars. Another addition to the bulging file titled “Making Your Bed & Having to Lay in It.”
It’s a veritable stampede of docs getting out of family practices. Having an insurance policy is no guarantee that you will be able to find a doctor, much less get an appointment.
My SIL’s brother left his family practice to work at a hospital. The half million it was going to take to convert to the electronic records and lack of time with patients convinced him to make the move. I have two cousins who are PAs in ERs. One told me Thursday that 3 of their ER docs are former family practice docs who left because of Obamacare. Another doc is still in family practice, but moonlights in the ER since he cannot make enough money in family practice. My aunt’s cardio vascular surgeon said last week that he did not go to years of medical school to become “a secretary” .... he’s very unhappy. My dad’s cardiologists (two of them) are contemplating early retirement rather than put up with the cr@p from Obamacare.
Obamacare is the death of decent healthcare in this country and soon there will a body count to back that up.
According to the linked article supporting Obamacare has accelerated the membership decline and now only 15% of doctors belong to the AMA.
Doctors have been bailing out of the AMA in droves. Membership is now only 17 percent of U.S. doctors. Like the AARP, the AMA has been taken over by Left-wing DC political operatives and no longer represents its own constituency.
Leftists and all low info voters basically think doctors should practice medicine for free, as if a hobby. I’m a physician and I hear this sentiment often from patients I’ve helped. We’re screwed. BTW, I never joined the AMA.
After 19 years in so called private practice as a Family Physician (which I loved) I am now employed at a hospital doing hospital work only. All because I see the writing on the wall. Seeing our overhead go from 54% to 70% over those 19 years and now with all the computer and paper mandates to do this and that I made a change. I make over twice as much and actually have time off. I had to think of my retirement and decided in order to save enough money I had to change. It was a sad moment and many of my patients are without a physician.
By chance I happen to be related to some physicians and a plumber.
The NET income for the plumber was better than the Doc for many years. Med school and all the equipment in the office=$$$; plumbers need equipment too but not that much.
Like the 'Hare and Tortoise', the physicians end ahead as the plumber slows due to ageing.
A go-go big city plumber will always be ahead of my 'old country doctor' kin.
He never complains but, never was big bucks.
That is just SO sad. All of the docs I personally know are good people and in the profession because they truly want to make people’s lives better if they can and help them. To have people like this driven out due to Obamacare is just unconscionable. When I see O up there bragging about how great Obamacare is, it makes me physically ill and that is no exaggeration.
My folks are elderly and my dad has serious heart issues - he’s a WWII vet and scared to death about what is coming with Obamacare, a state of mind he does not deserve at his age and in his condition. My 83 yo aunt just had axilobifem surgery Thursday ... she needed it, but what kicked her over the edge was being afraid Obamacare would deny her the surgery because she was too old and worthless.
Obamacare is just evil, plain and simple.
I worked with a public employee union in CA that included some nurses, other healthcare workers, and the social service people that simply enrolled people for the “free” healthcare. When they were pushing for more cuts to the Doctors to take cuts instead of them, I asked some of them if they thought it was fair considering the Doctors had to spend so many years and money to get where they are, had to pay high insurance and provide for their own retirement. The answer was a vehement YES; after all it is unfair that some people can “become” (not work to become) a Doctor.
I’m not sure it’s just low information voters who demonize evil rich doctors. The slackers who dropped out of school and those who didn’t want to study until they were 30 or work a 90 hour week - they feel they should be paid more.
You are correct, and unfortunately they get credibility far more than that 17% should have.......in the public arena of ideas.
When our founders decided on a Representational democracy they knew what they were doing. They were well aware of what happened to the Greek city states with the tyranny of the minority majority. Where one group dominates the culture over a diversity of other less dominanting groups and winds up destroying the whole system.
In order to get Obamacare passed the regime cut deals with major groups like the AMA and the AARP and others including health insuance entities allowing them only to benefit at the expence of others. Then crafted legislation that did so.
It is only with the unravelling of the 2000 pages of Obamacare (I’d rather call it “commiecare”)that we’re begining to undestand who and how those supporters are benefiting from its passage and enactment.
Conservatives and supporting groups in addition to focusing on taxes and job displacement should be also naming the names and concentrated on that aspect. Particularly if there’s a politician of either party involved.
“doctors should practice medicine for free, as if a hobby”
Liberals live according to narratives and fairy tale story lines. You’ll hear theories of the noble savage who are all naturally good, sweet and kind if not interfered with. Doctors should all live like Mother Theresa, living simply and humbly plying their trade to the humble righteous poor with no regards for themselves or any debt they may have piled up to become a “poor humble doctor”.(who by the way better do abortions or else....)
Yes they actually think this way...
The medical industry is desperate to protect its anti-trust exemptions. Even ObamaCare seems less frightening to them than free market competition and published pricing.
The AMA certainly played a part, but no other organization can lay as strong a claim to being the key player to getting ObamaCare passed as can THE NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE.
I have to long version for anyone who wants it, but the short version is this: on the very eve of the key vote in the House on ObamaCare, they BLACKMAILED each and every Republican with promises of retribution during the next Congressional campaign if they didn't vote to pas the bill.
NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE. Never forget, if it weren't for them we would not be having this discussion.
NEVER FORGET; NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE, NRTL!
I’m an MD (shrink subspecies) and I have been for a quarter century now, and yes, that was profound. It saves me from posting exactly the same thing.
My only elaboration is the way the leftist media will use these umbrella organizations for propaganda, and the personal and political perks which that offers to those who belong and participate. 17% or so of MDs belong to the AMA, somewhat more than that, I believe, in my specialty’s APA. The ones who choose to join are generally liberal, and the ones attracted to active participation are even more liberal. And yet, as the press does when they proclaim the opinions of NOW as representative of all women, or AARP as representative of all seniors, the news will speak of the AMA, etc as if this represents a large and important voice for the public to consider.
I recall being chosen for a special fellowship during the senior year of my residency by a subcommittee of the APA that focused on “public sector” psychiatry. My interest in applying was to bring attention back to the state hospital systems, which were gradually being phased out. This is decidedly a minority opinion in the liberal APA, and especially in this subcommittee, where the belief was that the violent, drug abusing, non-compliant, hopelessly disabled patients that had populated the once robust state hospital systems should be treated in their communities by public mental health clinics. This was, to me - then and now - obviously a liberal utopian dream of the most dangerously and foolishly naive sort.
I was invited, all expenses lavishly paid, to join the handful of other young residents chosen for the award at the APA annual meeting, in Chicago that year. There was a pre-dinner reception for us young bucks, where we got to meet all the APA and subcommittee luminaries in the penthouse at the top of some grand hotel along the lake. Probably the best view anywhere in Chicago, and certainly the most plush offerings of drinks and hor dourves I’ve ever experienced.
Mingling with the movers and shakers, I found myself with a small group of the real heavyweights chatting with a few fellow residents. The head guy of the subcommittee turned to me after a while, read my name tag, and asked what my interest was in public sector psychiatry. I told him and the others. They were shocked to find such a Philistine among them, and took me to task for my compassionless view.
I put up with all this for a while, then lifted high my crystal glass of French wine with one hand, and my plate - with caviar and some heavenly lobster or crab things on it - lifted a little less high with my other hand, and made a brief, slightly too exhuberant toast: “Well then! Here’s to all those homeless mentally ill!”
I downed my wine, set my plate down on a nearby table, and left, never to return.
Liberal Orthodoxy: profit is evil (except for liberals claiming profit is evil)
Ask your brother if he is willing to take a pay cut?!?!
(sniff) beau-i-ful (sniff)
I would like to say more, but I have a irrational fear of being psychoanalyzed.
Works fine for the "state". Less money out from Social Security as old folks die. They're past the age of usefulness to the "state" anyway. Plus, if they have money the "state" will most likely get a cut as it transfers generations.
You’re right, it was an amendment, here is the story:
National Right to Life?????????????????
BECAUSE OF NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE THIS MONSTROSITY BECAME THE LAW OF THE LAND, AND THEY ARE THE MOST RESPONSIBLE.
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO WADE THROUGH THE WHOLE THING JUST READ THE LAST TWO PARAGRAPHS:
Evil, or just Stupid?
October/November 2009 and ObamaCare was stalled in the House, the main sticking point being government funded abortions. There were enough Dems opposed to abortion that refused to vote for the ObamaCare if it contained any abortion language that it would not pass.
Representative Stupak (D) MI introduced his amendment that prohibited any government money from ObamaCare bill being used to fund abortions. This essentially would end all abortions, as no medical procedures outside the ObamaCare System can be done. No going to a doctor and paying him directly for anything. Thus, with his amendment, ALL abortions would be illegal.
This amendment to the House bill, if it passed, would give the above ‘Pro-Life’ Democrats a green light to vote for the ObamaCare bill.
Not enough Democrats supported the Stupak Amendment for it to pass. Many Democrats were vociferously opposed to it. It could only pass with Republican votes.
National Right to Life favored the Stupak Amendment, and insisted that Republicans vote for it. Further, they threatened any Republican who didn’t vote for it with their active opposition to that Republican during the 2010 fall election.
The Republicans caved, even those who could see the eventual outcome, right down to the last man. One hundred percent voted for the Stupak Amendment, along with a bunch of Dems who were opposed to abortions. Stupak handily passed.
Nobody believed the Amendment would stick; eventually it would/will be overridden in some fashion and Government funded abortion would become part of ObamaCare. Abortion is the Prime Sacrament of the Left, and will not be denied government funding, let alone be made illegal.
With a green light, the Pro-Life Dems could vote for ObamaCare, and although many hard-line Leftists were angry, enough of them also could see the end game, and agreed to vote pass ObamaCare.
A couple days later ObamaCare passed the House.
Everyone knew how this would play out, and it did. Rush spoke about it on his show.
I am of the opinion even National Right to Life knew it would play out this way. Im not aware of anyone who thought otherwise. That leaves us with two opinions of their leadership;
The NRTL is Stupid Strategy;
1. They are so locked into their stop abortion at all costs viewpoint that they cant operate with a strategy that goes beyond 24 hours. Liberals like to say that conservatives are stupid and easily lead, this situation is circumstantial proof that Leftists are right from time to time. This is the NRTL Stupid Strategy.
The NRTL is Evil Strategy;
2. They were in cahoots with the Pro-Abort crowd on this, and were complicit in getting ObamaCare passed in the House, ObamaCare which will include a monthly premium from all of us to fund abortions. This would be the NRTL Evil Strategy.
Either way, too stupid, or just evil, they are unfit to lead the movement to reduce or end abortions. Their thuggish actions have brought us to the brink of the enslavement of 300 million Americans, ending of the most advanced medical care in the entire history of the world, and will lead, ironically, to Chinese style government mandated and government funded abortions.
I am unaware of any other organization which has played such a pivotal role against Americans and babies in the ObamaCare fight as National Right to Life has.
The AMA basically did its best to keep physicians’ income artificially high by limiting the number of doctors graduating from medical school. For every QUALIFIED applicant, they accept about 4-5% into med school. It should be 10X that, so that there is more competition among doctors and the price for healthcare inexorably goes lower. By ignoring the cries of consumers, they allowed the guvmint to step in with their own ridiculous solution. The healthcare crisis can be legitimately put directly at the feet of the AMA ladder pullers.
“I would like to say more, but I have a irrational fear of being psychoanalyzed.”
I have a colleague/friend who would answer this by looking deep into your eyes for a bit too long, and then say with a muted voice, “Yesss . . . you should be afraid.”
My stock reply, because we all get this all the time at parties and such, when someone says, “You’re probably psychoanalyzing all of us,” is to put them at ease by joking, “Only if you pay me.” It lightens things up so I can enjoy the party.