NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 7, 2010

The American Medical Association (AMA) is putting the doctors of America on notice.  A major cheerleader for ObamaCare, the organization is now trying to silence doctors who oppose it.  It is time the American people understood what the AMA is really all about, says Dr. Hal Scherz, a pediatric urological surgeon at Georgia Urology and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. 

In the weeks since passage of this 2,700 page bill, more and more of its policy land mines have exploded, including rising insurance premiums and admissions of inevitable rationing.  Not surprisingly, an increasing number of physicians have expressed alarm over the impact that the legislation will have on their patients.  This growing opposition makes the actions of the AMA, which represents only 17 percent of the doctors in the United States look very bad, explains Scherz. 

It is essential to understand the primary reason the AMA stands alongside President Obama on health-care reform, says Scherz: 

  • The organization wants to protect a monopoly that the federal government has created for it -- a medical coding system administered by the AMA that every health care professional and hospital must use if they wish to get paid for the services they provide.
  • This monopoly generates income of $70 million to $100 million annually for the AMA.
  • That makes the AMA less an association looking out for doctors and more a special-interest group beholden to Congress and the White House.  

Doctors who oppose ObamaCare have not relented.  Passage of this bill has stirred in them long dormant political emotions.  Doctors across the country are educating their patients about how ObamaCare will limit their freedom to make their own health-care decisions.  There are 925,000 doctors in America and the average doctor has at least 2,000 patients, with many already asking our patients if they can take two minutes to discuss this bill with them.  This terrifies Congress and the White House, says Scherz. 

The irony is that in supporting ObamaCare and trying to silence doctors the AMA has forgotten its own mission statement and ethical code: "To help doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues."  It is always medically ethical to tell patients the truth, which is what doctors are now doing by educating them about ObamaCare, says Scherz. 

Source: Hal Scherz, "Why the AMA Wants to Muzzle Your Doctor," Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2010. 

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