But of course Wilson gave his support for a bill signaling great news for physicians, health insurers and the entire medical-industrial complex. Wilson was able to get the Senate to replace a 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic surgery procedures with a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services. In addition, the proposed fee on physicians to enroll in Medicare was dropped.
Perhaps the most destructive feature of Wilson’s demands from Washington in exchange for the AMA’s full endorsement of the bill was the elimination of payment cuts to specialty and other physicians to pay for bonuses to primary care doctors in underserved areas.
This serves as a direct blow to the healthcare system, as the lack of primary care physicians is one of the sources of America’s healthcare crisis.
What follows is a compilation of some excerpts of a healthcare book I have been working on for more than three years, America’s Healthcare Solution, scheduled for release in January 2010.
Today, you will learn the truth about the AMA.
Finally, I will show you that America has nowhere near the best healthcare in the world.
The Truth about the AMA
Contrary to public perception, the AMA has a long history of blocking positive change for healthcare. For instance, when Medicare was first proposed, the AMA tried to stop it by creating scare tactics. This is how the term “socialized medicine” came about. The AMA was also instrumental in blocking President Clinton’s healthcare plan.
It was by no coincidence that Obama sought an endorsement from the AMA because his plan for reform falls well short of what is needed to rescue this very troubled system. The fact is that all plans currently on the table fail to address the fundamental problems plaguing the industry.
Membership in the AMA has been in decline for several years. Many physicians have completely disassociated themselves with the AMA after years of betrayal and damage to the medical profession in exchange for a focus on profits.
Today, less than 20% of all U.S. physicians are members of this once respected organization. The decision-makers of the AMA have willingly embraced the medical-industrial complex, which encourages physicians to be entrepreneurs over providers. Together, these effects have driven healthcare costs up and clinical outcomes down on a per dollar basis.
On the surface, the AMA appears to be self-funded through revenues generated from its Journal of the American Medical Association, healthcare industry sponsorships and physicians’ educational events and awareness campaigns.
But the AMA also sells data to marketing companies on some 850,000 physician biographies, earning north of $30 million annually for detailed reports.
Furthermore, the AMA has permitted for-profit medical suppliers to fund CME (continuing medical education events) for decades. While this might seem as a benign gesture, the problem is that many of the speakers who have been delegated to provide education for physicians are actually on the payroll of drug and device companies.
The fact is that the AMA serves as a lobbyist group for physicians. And it has become a key player in America’s medical-industrial complex. If you truly want to create real healthcare reform; if you want to create a patient-centric healthcare system, the AMA is the last place you would go to for support.
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