HEALTH REFORM: New AMA Leader Wants ‘Radical Change’
Dr. Nancy Dickey, the new president of the American Medical Association, "is urging a radical change to the nation's health care delivery system: Let individual workers, not their employers, shop for health insurance," the Dallas Morning News reports. Dickey, who will be installed as AMA president today, said: "This just isn't a one-size-fits-all country. Look out at the parking lot and recognize that we may choose sport-utility vehicles or sports cars or pickup trucks or sedans. The same ought to be true in health care." Under her proposal, employers would "give workers a defined monetary contribution toward health insurance costs and then let them choose from a large number of options." The Dallas Morning News notes that "all health plans would be included on an employer's coverage list if they meet minimal financial and quality standards," much like the list of health plan options available under the federal employees' plan. "In my office environment, the best interchange between the patient and I occurs when the patient is part of the decision-making and the economics of the decisions. When patients have been isolated ... from the entire cost equation, we have a very different discussion than if they had some interest and responsibility," Dickey said.
To help reduce the number of uninsured Americans, Dickey wants to require "all incoming college students to have health insurance," and she wants to ensure that states are "reaching out to Medicaid-eligible children whose parents haven't signed them up." She said: "We are in the best economic times this country has ever had, yet the number of uninsured is increasing. What will we do if we enter a time of economic downturn and we're not talking 42 or 45 million, but ... about 60 million or 70 million? The time to solve the problem is now" (Ornstein, 6/17).