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Why, Again, Did the AMA Back Obamacare?

2:37 PM, Jun 16, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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In passing Obamacare, Democrats not only didn't address a scheduled pay cut for doctors who provide Medicare services, but they also instituted new pay cuts for other Medicare providers (such as hospitals and nurses), which the Medicare chief actuary says threaten to reduce Medicare patients' access to care. Simultaneously, the Democrats took money that could have been used to provide a "doc fix" and directed that it instead be spent on Obamacare. Now the American Medical Association, a principal backer of Obamacare (even though the overhaul contained neither a "doc fix" nor a remedy for runaway malpractice lawsuits), wants to have separate, deficit-increasing legislation passed to address the cut in doctors' pay. 

But, as Roll Call reports, "Even the AMA’s fellow doctors have little sympathy for its plight."

"One would think that if there were a major health care bill in this country and the largest physician membership group in the country was involved that it should have included paying for doctors and dealing with lawsuit abuse," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), an orthopedic surgeon and member of the AMA.  Indeed, many Republicans believe that without help from the AMA, Democrats might not have been able to get all 60 Democratic Senators to support the overhaul last December.

Perhaps it's time for the AMA to join the vast majority of Americans in calling for the repeal of Obamacare, and then the passage of real reform -- including a Medicare "doc fix." And perhaps it's not surprising that only about 1/6 of American doctors remain members of the once-proud AMA. 

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