Reform ‘Alternatives’ Win Backing of American Medical Association
On Wednesday, the 543-member policymaking body of the American Medical Association voted to approve a resolution supporting "health system reform alternatives" that adhere to the principles of "pluralism, freedom of choice, freedom of practice and universal access for patients," the Chicago Tribune reports.
The words "public option" were taken out of an earlier version of the resolution because of concerns that lawmakers would interpret the language to mean AMA supports a Medicare-like public insurance plan or a single-payer system, according to the Tribune.
Former AMA President Nancy Nielsen, whose term ended at the close of the conference Tuesday, said expanding Medicare to all U.S. residents "would be a real mistake."
AMA generally opposes government control of health coverage, which it believes would lead to price controls and lower reimbursement rates (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 6/17).
Nielsen said that "there's no question that a healthy competitive market for private insurers is in Americans' best interest," adding, "We want them to have choice. We also know there need to be market reforms in order to make some of those market alternatives more affordable."
Nielsen noted that the resolution sought to avoid "closing the door by putting a label on alternatives that meant different things to different people" (Stern, Reuters, 6/17).James Rohack, a cardiologist who became AMA's new president on Tuesday, said that a "uniquely American solution" to the country's health care problems must bring about "evolutionary change." He added, "I can promise that our AMA is committed to offering guidance, our expertise, the benefits of our relationship with patients, and the powerful voice of our profession, to help the powers that be make the right decisions" (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 6/17). 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.