AMA Outlines Legislative Priorities for the Year
Patients' rights, an antitrust bill and increased coverage for the uninsured top the legislative agenda of the American Medical Association, CongressDaily reports. The organization has been a "strong backer" of the patients' rights efforts of Reps. Charles Norwood (R-Ga.) and John Dingell (D-Mich.), but also recently commended President Bush on his managed care reform package. During a news conference outlining the group's goals, AMA President Thomas Reardon said, "[W]e're in the best position yet to see meaningful patients' rights become law" (Fulton, CongressDaily, 2/26). Reardon said that the AMA would support a bill that covers all Americans, provides "comprehensive protections," has a "rapid" review process, allows doctors to make medical decisions, holds health plans accountable and shields employers from "frivolous lawsuits" (AMA release, 2/26). The AMA is also looking for a sponsor of its "controversial" antitrust bill, which would allow physicians more bargaining power with HMOs (CongressDaily, 2/26). The association said it would promote expanded coverage for the uninsured through tax credits and by widening its own outreach efforts to enroll eligible children in the CHIP program. Maintaining federal funding for graduate medical education, securing tax relief for people paying back medical school loans and expanding tobacco control are the AMA's other priorities (AMA release, 2/26).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.