Bioethics, government medicine, public policy

AMA offers public plan compromise

One more post before I have to work, from the American Medical Association morning newsletter.

Unfortunately, I can’t access most of the links:

AMA offers public plan compromise.

The AP (6/12, Tanner) reports that the American Medical Association “has long opposed government intrusion into healthcare and believes reform can be achieved by revamping private health insurance plans.” Now, AMA President Dr. Nancy Nielsen “says the group wants details on Obama’s proposal for a public health insurance plan to compete with private plans.” She noted that the AMA “opposes any public plan that forces physicians to participate, expands the fiscally challenged Medicare program, or pays Medicare rates.”

But, she explained that the group “remains open to the idea of a government-run health insurance plan, as long as doctors are not required to participate and the plan pays doctors more than Medicare does,” CQ Today (6/12, Wayne) reports. Dr. Nielsen said that “doctors would accept a public plan that competes on a ‘level playing field’ with private insurers.” She claimed that “at a minimum…the government should not require doctors to participate as a condition of retaining their Medicare billing privileges, and the plan must pay higher rates than Medicare does.” Among “other variations of a public plan” that “the AMA ‘is willing to consider,'” include Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad’s (D-ND) proposal to “create a system of publicly owned insurance cooperatives in place of a government-run public plan.”

AMA said to be open to considering Sen. Conrad’s co-op proposal. CongressDaily (6/12) reports, “The American Medical Association wants to see details of Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad’s (D-ND) compromise proposal for a public health insurance plan, the group told senators Thursday.” The group’s statement “could help an already promising compromise gain more traction.” AMA Trustee Samantha Rosman told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee at a roundtable meeting that “the AMA is open to consideration of a new health insurance option that is market based.” She added that although “no legislative details have yet been put forth,” the group is looking “forward to reviewing those ideas.” Sen. Conrad’s proposal includes that creation of “a nonprofit co-op that would serve as a public plan alternative to private insurance.”

Chamber Of Commerce, insurance industry join AMA in push against public plan. In a follow-up to Wednesday’s New York Times (6/10, Pear) article about the American Medical Association’s (AMA) push to eliminate the public plan from the health reform legislation, Shirley S. Wang observed in the Wall Street Journal (6/11, Wang) Health Blog that the AMA is arguing that a public plan “threatens to restrict patient choice” by crowding out the private insurers. In this effort, they are joined by the US Chamber of Commerce, which “says it is concerned that the proposed mandate that employers help pay for insurance would add new costs to already struggling businesses.” Finally, “private insurers also are pushing back against the idea of government-run exchanges where consumers could buy policies.” In an update to the blog entry, Wang added, “The AMA later issued a statement saying it might be able to support some version of public plans being discussed.”

Public plan debate sparks Democratic “civil war.” The Politico (6/12, Brown) reports that President Obama’s calls for a public health plan “has touched off an increasingly fierce Democratic civil war on Capitol Hill, as liberals fearful about squandering the chance to achieve that goal are taking aggressive steps to keep moderates in line.” The Politico notes that Democratic strategist Joe Trippi “launched a campaign” accusing Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D) of “being a ‘sellout’ for special interests” when he spoke out against the concept. Meanwhile, bloggers on the Daily Kos “went on the attack” after the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way “cautioned Democrats on overreaching on a public plan.” Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) “is the next target,” the Politico reports.

In the Washington Post (6/12) 44 blog, Ben Pershing notes “the increasingly heated debate over healthcare reform…within the Democratic party,” adding that the formation of a public plan option is a major point of contention.
From the AMA

Obama to address AMA House of Delegates. President Barack Obama will speak at the Annual Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates on June 15 in Chicago about the nation’s need for health system reform. “President Obama has made health reform a top domestic priority, as has the AMA,” AMA President Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, said. “[His] speech to AMA physicians shows that he values the input of those who dedicate their lives to caring for patients.” The House of Delegates opens tomorrow, June 13, during which physicians and medical students from around the country will debate and set policy on health system reform and a variety of other matters that affect physicians and patients. The meeting runs through June 17.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)

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