Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stupid AMA Trick: The 17% Solution

Do you presume that the AMA (American Medical Association) represents the vast majority of our physicians? I certainly did, until I read this eye-popping stat in the WSJ:

"[G]rowing opposition (to ObamaCare©) makes the actions of the AMA, which represents only 17% of the doctors in the U.S., look very bad."

That's less than one in five doc's, a very small minority of providers. So how did they "earn" the right to speak for all the rest? The simple answer is, they didn't. What they have done is leverage a mutually beneficial (and cozy) relationship with Washington into a much more powerful voice than deserved.

How did they accomplish this, you ask?

Remember those "diagnostic codes" which are used by providers and insurers (including Medicare) to determine reimbursement rates (not costs) for given procedures? Well, the AMA owns the exclusive rights to these codes, on which they earn royalties, and on which every provider is required to rely if they wish to be paid for services rendered by a 3rd party (i.e. insurance). As long as they scratch Congress' and Obama's backs, they continue to reap that benefit.

Their vested interest in ObamaCare© has little to do with covering the uninsured or expanding access to health care (which is a good thing, perhaps, since little of ObamaCare© itself has anything to do with those lofty goals). Instead, it's about maintaining (and, in fact, growing) its own coffers at the expense of the rest of us.

Why am I not surprised?
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