AMA: Dickey Decries Employer-Based Insurance
American Medical Association President Nancy Dickey met with doctors and members of the business community in San Francisco last week, urging them to support measures that give patients more choice in their health care. "We are a nation of choice ... and the one area where we don't get choice is in our health care," she said, noting that 70% of Americans have employer- sponsored health insurance, 60% of whom are offered only one plan. Saying that the current system of employer-based insurance "restricts choice, drives up premiums for small businesses and eliminates the competition that could produce low-cost, high- quality" care, she predicted that "the current system of employer-based benefits can't continue." She said a better system would be one in which employees were given a set amount of money for health insurance and allowed to chose their own plan, which would "eliminate the large pools with bargaining clout, which ... would force health systems to become more consumer focused." However, the San Francisco Business Times reports that it "seems doubtful" that individual employees could negotiate low rates without the bargaining clout of large purchasing pools. "Nor is it clear that the negotiating groups the AMA would substitute for employers -- church groups, professional organizations, or clubs -- would either improve on employers' efforts or benefit the consumer," the Business Times notes (Bole, 2/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.