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AMA’s Quiet Retreat

Posted on | August 20, 2019 | 2 Comments

Mike Magee

It’s the dog days of summer. So you may have missed a brief, but significant announcement by the AMA last week that it was exiting the anti-“Medicare-for-all” coalition, The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future. It is a faux-partnership whose real purpose is to preserve the past rather then chart a progressive future. 

The party line, voiced by the CEO of the for-profit hospital association (a member), is “We have a structure that frankly works for most Americans. Let’s make it work for all Americans. We reject the notion that we need to turn the whole apple cart over and start all over again.”

So why is the AMA leaving? The party line voiced by AMA president James Madara was “The AMA decided to leave the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future so that we can devote more time to advocating for these policies that will address current coverage gaps and dysfunction in our healthcare system.” The truth is the organization was increasingly uncomfortable with tactics, messaging and the company they were keeping. As one anonymous insider said, “we need to move on and not only talk about what we’re against but what we’re for.”

The AMA found itself on a slippery slope with members that packed a wallop. Its 27 member lobbying effort has been intentionally on the “down-low”; a quasi-organization that actively hid its parentage.

In the interest of transparency, here’s a list of the original Leaders and Followers .

Leaders:

1. American Medical Association (AMA) – the doctors

2. American Hospital Association (AHA) – the non-profit hospitals

3. Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) – the for-profit hospitals

3. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) – the major insurers

4. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association (PhRMA) – the drug makers

5. Biotechnology Innovation Organization (Bio) – the biotechnology companies

6. Association for Accessible Medicines (aam) – the generic drug producers

7. Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (The Council) – the health insurance brokers

8. Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) – the coalition of MIC CEO’s

9. National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers (NAIFA) -The financial/insurance industry 

10. National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)

Followers:

1. Blue Cross/Blue Shield

2. Hospital Corporation of America (HCA)

3. Ascension Health (largest Catholic HC System)

4. Ardent Health Services

5. Community Health Systems (CHS)

6. Life Point Health (Holding Company for 70 health care institutions)

7. Tenet Health

8. UHS (Universal Health Services) – manages 350 hospitals

9. Texas Health Resources (faith based 29 hospital system)

10. Premier Inc. (Health Data mining company)

11. Life Point Health (Holding Company for 70 health care institutions)

12. BC/BS of North Dakota

13. North Dakota Medical Association (NDMA)

14. American College of Radiology

What can we take away from the AMA retreat. Hcom sees it as a signal that three realities are coalescing:

  1. Public support for universal health coverage is overwhelming and here to stay.
  2. Waste and inefficiency resulting from the excesses of the Medical-Industrial Complex are increasingly in the cross-hairs, and potentially compromise physicians future economic prospects. (There are 16 health care workers now for every one physician.)
  3. If the battle to be waged against the status quo is between the MIC and patients, it appears the AMA is positioning itself to line up with the patients.

Comments

2 Responses to “AMA’s Quiet Retreat”

  1. Denise Link
    August 21st, 2019 @ 10:34 am

    I saw the announcement and was glad AMA left. I held my breath while I read the list of member organizations and was also pleased (relieved) to see that there were no nurse associations on it.

  2. Mike Magee
    August 21st, 2019 @ 11:26 am

    Denise-
    Were there, I would have been very surprised. Nurses lead with compassion, understanding and partnership with their patients.
    Mike

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