SAN DIEGO, February 1, 2012 - Multiple physician groups have come out in strong opposition to the Obamacare legislation and to the under-handed, self-serving fashion in which the American Medical Association (AMA) gave its support for the law. The AMA sought to curry favor with the government to preserve their lucrative royalty monopoly on the medical billing codes that must be used to file all medical claims in the United States. These codes netted the AMA 72 million in the year 2010 alone, and evidently provided enough incentive that the AMA all but ignored the will of the majority of doctors in the country in their Obamacare endorsement.
“There is a reason that most doctors are not members of the AMA,” says Richard Willner, executive VP of America’s Medical Society (AMS), an AMA competitor. “Only 15% of doctors practicing in the community are members of the AMA because the AMA has ignored them, disregarded their ideas, and chosen money over principle in the battle to preserve the doctor-patient relationship.”
From the oldest, most consistently conservative medical group in the nation, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), to America’s Medical Society, to the American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP), to the group Doctors for Patient Care (Docs4PC), to the online physician forum SERMO and the new healthcare start-up group, Par80, and so many others, doctors all across the country have been clamoring for legitimacy to allow their rightful majority to be heard on the subject of healthcare reform. Other groups, such as Stop Taxing Us, co-founded by physician Gary Gonsalves, M.D., are also concerned about the fiscal and patient care pitfalls in the new healthcare legislation.
The following draft of ‘Ten Commandments for Healthcare Reform’ was authored by Marcy Zwelling-Aamot, M.D., Chairman of the Board and former President of AAPP; along with AMS President/Founder, Adam F. Dorin, M.D., MBA, Doctor Zwelling-Aamot is spearheading the 2012 doctors coalition meeting later this Spring in San Diego:
I. The patient/doctor relationship is confidential and personal. It should never be regulated by outside agencies.
II. Our patients’ privacy cannot be compromised.
III. Patients should always be free to choose their own doctor, hospital, and treatment plan. The patient and physician working together in trusted collaboration should make decisions about their medical care.
IV. Patients have the right to privately contract with any physician, provider, healthcare facility, or vendor that provides health related materials. Fee schedules and price lists should be readily available.
V. Actuarial risk is the business of payers, not health care providers. Insurers should assume the actuarial risk of those with pre-existing conditions by setting up high-risk pools. Insurers should make basic catastrophic, hospital only insurance available for individuals to purchase and own.
VI. Payment of benefits is between the payer (either private or public) and the insured. Payment for services should be between the patient and the doctor, hospital or other provider of care. The two should not be mixed.
VII. Any tax benefit provided for the purchase of health care or health insurance should accrue to the individual patient/insured. Employers may contribute to their employee’s health benefit without tax implications. Insurance contracts should remain under the jurisdiction of contract law in the state where the insurance is purchased and insurance should be able to be purchased across state lines.
VIII. There shall be no mandates.
IX: The right for justice must be secured for patients injured in the medical system. Doctors and caregivers should be protected from negligent abuse of the system.
X. The patient should determine quality of healthcare. Standards of care are the discretion of specialty organizations and should be published and available to all patients. Physicians within that specialty network should do peer review exclusively and confidentially.
One of the purposes of the physician coalition group meeting is to further clarify, perhaps modify, and expand upon the principles set forth in the healthcare ‘ten commandments’. The events organizers believe that true physician representation was lacking in the creation of the ‘Affordable Care Act’, and they seek to influence the discussion in a constructive manner as heated legal and political challenges to Obamacare are underway.
According to a recent Deloitte Center for Health Solutions study, and others since the passage of the ‘Act’, the combination of more low-paying health insurance patients and fewer doctors to care for them will be a “recipe for disaster.” Only one in three consumers still support the Obamacare law, and, according to President Mike Dillon of InstantHealthInsuranceQuotes.com, an increasing number of physicians who originally supported the AMA and the new law are changing their minds. Estimates are that the country will be 160,000 physicians short by the year 2025. With the AMA losing a known 12,000 members in the year 2010 alone because of their support for Obamacare, and an undisclosed number of additional membership defectors suspected to have impacted the AMA in the year 2011, it is clear that doctors are very concerned about the quality, fiscal, and practice management implications of healthcare reform in its current form.
The coalition of non-AMA doctor groups is concerned not only with patient access and the preservation of the sacred doctor-patient relationship, but also with the onerous rules that will be created and controlled by local, Obamacare-mandated Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). These mini-HMOs will deprive patients of the right to a full-range of pharmaceutical options and will restrict treatment choices and locations. ACOs will further expand confusing and often dangerous layers of bureaucracy in the form of specialty-tier drug pricing, ‘prior authorization’ requirements for medical visits and procedures, and opaque ‘medical necessity’ restrictions.
The coalition group of physicians, physician groups, medical leaders, politicians, and citizens will be assembling in San Diego this Spring. The conference event will be charged with producing a white paper on physician-driven healthcare reform necessities. As with prior challenges issued by America’s Medical Society, the San Diego event is offering an open debate challenge to the AMA and the White House to enter into a televised panel discussion on the merits and pitfalls of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act legislation from the physician’s perspective.
The name of the upcoming physician meeting is The Coalition Summit of Independent Physicians©—Protecting the Doctor-Patient Relationship in an Era of Government Mandates. The exact date and details on participating medical groups are pending; registration will be required, but attendance will be free. For initial details, see www.AmericasMedicalSociety.com.
Doctor Dorin is a Hopkins-trained, board-certified anesthesiologist, practicing in a large group in San Diego. He is a small business owner, a Commander in the US Navy Reserves, and the Founder/President of America’s Medical Society, Inc., (AMS) a non-profit corporation created to serve and educate physicians and the general public in matters of national health-care reform and medical politics.
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