AMA to dissect public health plan

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: President Obama faces a skeptical audience today at the American Medical Association's annual meeting in Chicago. The president will talk up his idea of a public health insurance plan. As Tamara Keith reports, the influential AMA has so far been cool to that idea.


Tamara Keith: The American Medical Association represent 250,000 doctors -- people who have a quite a stake in the outcome of President Obama's health care reform push.

AMA President Dr. Nancy Neilsen says her organization doesn't think a public health insurance plan is the best option.

Nancy Neilsen: We haven't had exactly the most wonderful experience with government-run plans, but we are looking at all of the options that are on the table.

The AMA is the nation's largest physician organization, and has long influenced health policy debates.

Jonathan Oberlander is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:

Jonathan Oberlander: Part of their concern about the public plan I think is ideological and a resistance to the idea of public insurance. Part of it is financial -- you know, they worry that a public plan will control costs by holding down what doctors are paid. And so they're trying to represent the financial interest of physicians.

And that's just one of the competing interest in this debate.

In Washington, I'm Tamara Keith for Marketplace.

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