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Why Are These Doctor Politicians So Angry With Obamacare When The AMA, AAMC and AHA Are Not?

Posted on | October 1, 2013 | No Comments

Mike Magee

In 1965, as I graduated from high school, I distinctly remember my father being in an unusually foul mood. He was a doctor through and through, and a huge supporter of the American Medical Association(AMA). He was president of New Jersey’s largest County Medical Society, and later a mentor to Jim Todd, who would become CEO of the AMA in 1990.

When the AMA declared that Medicare would result in Socialized Medicine, my father bought it hook, line and sinker. He was mad, really mad. Twenty years later, when his doctors announced to him and his wife that he had early Alzheimer’s Disease, his anger had subsided. As with the vast majority of Americans, my mom and dad felt Medicare was a God send.

Today’s AMA has not repeated that history. They, along with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) are on record as being supportive of Obamacare in varying degrees.

There are 20 doctors in Congress, 16 of them Republicans. And as the picture above clearly documents, many of them are angry, very angry.

Most of these politician doctors have lifelong formal and informal organizational ties to the major U.S. medical organizations including the AMA, AAMC and the AHA. So you might think that these organizations are very unhappy today as formal enrollment into the new health exchanges begins. But they’re not. They are engaged, involved, and committed to making  Obamacare work and to continuously improving it over time.

Here’s what these three organizations have said:

American Medical Association

“The establishment of health insurance exchanges provides a patient-friendly market for patients to choose and purchase individually owned health insurance, while increasing competition among health plans based on quality and price…The American Medical Association (AMA) envisions health insurance exchanges as marketplaces through which individuals and families can choose and purchase affordable health insurance coverage that meets their health care needs. Health insurance exchanges should allow individuals and families to make choices from among competing health plans based on quality and price. They will also extend health insurance coverage and benefits to millions of individuals who are currently uninsured.”

Association of American Medical Colleges

“This law is an important step toward an improved health care system that gives all Americans access to the care they need when they need it. However, we are closely examining the court’s ruling as it relates to the Medicaid expansion.”
AAMCPresident and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D.

American Hospital Association

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a tremendously significant piece of health care legislation, particularly for hospitals that had much to gain—or lose—depending on the type of reforms implemented…We supported it, imperfect as it is. Now it is much more important to build on it and improve it.”
Richard Umbdenstock, President and CEO of the AHA

So why the disconnect? What should American citizens take away from the very public television display of doctor politicians presenting angry warnings on the airwaves today? Perhaps it is the politician speaking, and not the doctor.

For Health Commentary, I’m Mike Magee.

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