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AMA Signals Donald Trump (and Tom Price): “Enter At Your Own Risk.”

Posted on | January 3, 2017 | 8 Comments

AMA member Tom Price

The AMA took an unusual step this evening when it released the open letter below addressed to Congress, warning against removal of Obamacare without a suitable replacement. While addressed to Congress, the message is clearly intended for President-elect Trump, and secondarily to hard-liner orthopedist Tom Price. The latter has the support of the AMA in his nomination to head HHS, but the AMA took a great deal of heat from members in doing so. This letter clearly signals to Price the limits of their support.

Here’s the letter:

Congressional Leaders on Reform of Health Care System

CHICAGO – The American Medical Association (AMA) released the following letter today to congressional leadership from Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice President James L. Madara, M.D., concerning legislative efforts to reform the health care system.

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:

On behalf of the physician and medical student members of the American Medical Association (AMA), I am writing regarding our ongoing commitment to reform of the health care system and potential legislative actions during the first months of the 115th Congress.

The AMA has long advocated for health insurance coverage for all Americans, as well as pluralism, freedom of choice, freedom of practice, and universal access for patients. These policy positions are guided by the actions of the AMA House of Delegates, composed of representatives of more than 190 state and national specialty medical associations, and they form the basis for AMA consideration of reforms to our health care system.

Health system reform is an ongoing quest for improvement. The AMA supported passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because it was a significant improvement on the status quo at that time. We continue to embrace the primary goal of that law—to make high quality, affordable health care coverage accessible to all Americans. We also recognize that the ACA is imperfect and there a number of issues that need to be addressed. As such, we welcome proposals, consistent with the policies of our House of Delegates, to make coverage more affordable, provide greater choice, and increase the number of those insured.

In considering opportunities to make coverage more affordable and accessible to all Americans, it is essential that gains in the number of Americans with health insurance coverage be maintained.

Consistent with this core principle, we believe that before any action is taken through reconciliation or other means that would potentially alter coverage, policymakers should lay out for the American people, in reasonable detail, what will replace current policies. Patients and other stakeholders should be able to clearly compare current policy to new proposals so they can make informed decisions about whether it represents a step forward in the ongoing process of health reform.

We stand ready to work with you to continue the process of improving our health care system and ensuring that all Americans have access to high quality, affordable health care coverage.


James L. Madara, MD


8 Responses to “AMA Signals Donald Trump (and Tom Price): “Enter At Your Own Risk.””

  1. Arthur Ulene
    January 3rd, 2017 @ 5:34 pm

    There was a time when the AMA membership included 650,000 of the 900,000 licensed physicians in the U.S. Today, they are down to 250,000 members (out of a million licensed physicians), and that number is about to drop significantly. Deservedly so.

  2. Susan Pellerin
    January 3rd, 2017 @ 6:17 pm

    Ask yourself if healthcare is a right or a privilege? If our society is to embrace the inscription on the Statue of Liberty “”Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”, ” how can ‘we’ allow a society to have one healthcare program for the rich and one for the poor? How to provide equitable healthcare for all is a societal problem not a political ‘bargaining chip’.

  3. Stephen Rockower, MD
    January 3rd, 2017 @ 8:19 pm

    A well thought out letter, consistent with AMA policies and principals to treat the sick and keep healthy the well.
    Hopefully, Dr. Price will remember his roots in medicine and work to preserve the things worth preserving, including a woman’s right to choose, among other things.

  4. Robert Gerrie MD FACS (retired)
    January 4th, 2017 @ 11:37 am

    Obama Care has increased insurance premiums for my wife from $240 a month to $1020 a month over three years. I am all for everybody getting health insurance but why am I being asked to pay for it? I never joined the AMA and dropped out of the Am College Surgeons 25 years ago. I could never see anything positive they did for the every day small town practitioner.

  5. Mike Magee
    January 4th, 2017 @ 4:49 pm

    Thanks Susan for highlighting the key question!

  6. Mike Magee
    January 4th, 2017 @ 4:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Robert. There is no easy answer, but we’re all in it together. Hopefully the right solutions will include near universal coverage. Best, Mike

  7. Daniel Johnson Jr
    January 4th, 2017 @ 9:21 pm

    “Enter at your own risk”? Really?

    AMA advocacy is not and over the past 50 years has not been advocacy for the status quo or to go back to the “good ol’ days”. It is directed at creating a better deal than the one we have now.

    There is serious work to be done and a real opportunity to get it done if we can listen to one another.

  8. Mike Magee
    January 5th, 2017 @ 8:18 am

    Thank you, Stormy. Wishing you and your family well. Best, Mike

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