On July 16th, the American Medical Association endorsed the House Healthcare Reform Bill. Since then over 10,000 US physicians have used Sermo to voice their position on the Bill. 94% do not support the bill, and 95% state that the AMA does not speak for them with its endorsement (see full survey results and comments). The numbers are astonishing, almost as astonishing as the fact that none--not one--of the three topics that physicians state are the most important for comprehensive healthcare reform are even addressed in the Bill at all: malpractice reform, limiting impact of third party payors on the doctor patient relationship, and evening the playing field between doctors and third party payors.
It took the AMA less than 36 hours to endorse a 1,200-page bill that seasoned legal scholars are describing as "puzzling". It is a complex document that touches almost every aspect of the healthcare system except, perhaps, the ones that can have a material impact on cost savings. While the Bill does nothing to address ballooning administrative costs that are thought to consume 15-40 cents of every healthcare dollar, the bill does protect the AMA's proprietary CPT codes and will lead to a windfall in revenue that the AMA gets for licensing these codes to insurance companies and hospitals. With less than 15% of revenue now coming from physicians, one doesn't have to look far to see who the AMA is truly advocating for in this decision to endorse the Healthcare Bill. It's the AMA.
First posted to the Sermo physician community on July 17, 2009:
From the Founder: Sermo Physicians Respond to AMA Endorsement of HC Bill
Congressional Leaders and Media Call Upon Sermo Physicians to Comment on AMA Endorsement of House Bill
Yesterday, the AMA publicly endorsed the House Healthcare Bill. In its current form, the bill fails to address any of the major issues that physicians have consistently voiced and demonstrates the tremendous risk of physicians not having a voice in the current healthcare debate. Sermo has issued a press release refuting the endorsement of the bill.
Today, the Sermo community has been asked by the media and members of Congress to join the healthcare debate as a voice for US physicians. Please take a moment to vote and comment on what issues you see as most critical for healthcare reform.
Here's how your voice will be heard:
• Sermo will be issuing another press release detailing the results of the survey
• Daniel Palestrant has been invited to meet with Congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. to present the Sermo community's voice in the healthcare debate.
• Your colleagues on Sermo are organizing a grass roots movement for physicians to take coordinated action to block the further destruction of our profession through the Take a Stand. Tie a Knot campaign.
After you have voted and commented, it is critical that you engage your colleagues and ask them to participate as well. Together we can ensure that the voice of dedicated, practicing physicians is accurately represented in this debate. Our strength is in our numbers.
Daniel Palestrant, MD
Founder & CEO