AMA gives Obama plan bad diagnosis

President Barack Obama makes his way onto the stage to address the American Medical Association's annual conference at a hotel in Chicago.


Kai Ryssdal: This is clearly a big speech week for the president. Mr. Obama was in Chicago today. He spent an hour or so with the American Medical Association to continue his campaign for health-care reform. There was a fair amount of applause from a group that's been painted recently as not totally on board with changes to the nation's health-care system. There was a "boo" or two as well at a couple of points. The president warned the nation's doctors that if we don't cut health-care costs the whole country could wind up like General Motors. Jill Barshay reports now that for doctors overhauling America's health-care system hasn't been about the if, really. It's about the how.

JILL BARSHAY: When it comes to fixing health care, doctors have been like uncooperative patients. Les Funtleyder, is a health care industry analyst at Miller Tabak in New York.

LES Funtleyder: The AMA has been one of the organizations that has been scuttling health-care reform since Franklin Roosevelt. So I think it would be helpful to have them on his side.

President Obama agrees.

PRESIDENT BARACK Obama: I need your help, doctors. Because to most Americans, you are the health-care system. The fact is Americans -- and I include myself, Michelle and our kids in this -- we just do what you tell us to do.

But not when it comes to medical malpractice. Obama disappointed doctors today when he said he would not recommend caps on malpractice awards.

Robert Laszewski is a health-care policy analyst in Washington. He says what's really at stake for the doctors is their livelihood and how reform may redistribute the wealth.

ROBERT Laszewski: Some of them are cardiologists who are paid really well and are making great livings. And some of them are pediatricians who are barely hanging on. But if you try to cut specialists and give the money to primary care, you'll probably have a civil war between the physicians.

Laszewski says that the American Medical Association isn't as powerful as it used to be. It represents only a third of the nation's 800,000 doctors. But he says the one thing they can agree on is that they don't want a pay cut.

I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

Progressive democrats and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and demand that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

God Bless You


This is from the AMA 2006 Workforce paper: "There are large numbers of Americans who aspire to attend U.S. medical schools but have been unable to gain admission due in part to limited capacity. Many are so committed that they are willing to pay high tuitions at schools with varying standards and leave the U.S. for several years to reach their goal. There is growing international concern that English-speaking countries may be draining valuable human resources from less-developed countries.2 Increasing U.S. medical school graduates will reduce the “pull” of physicians from less developed countries without creating barriers for individual migration." The problem really is supply and demand of doctors. Having an open enrollment to medical school will help drive down the cost of medical school, this will then drive down the salary of doctors. Then, only people who really care about being doctors (or crazy people) will want to work in this profession. There are no quotas in other professions, and the people who manage the supply and demand of doctors are the medical schools as well as organizations like the AMA who have a strong voice with these schools. I am all for open enrollment to medical school. Whoever gets through medical school and the exams can then be a doctor. Where supply equals demand in an unfettered US market is the answer to our rising cost of medicine and medical school.

Marketplace did a disservice to its listeners by leaving out the story behind the numbers. As an aspiring doctor, I wholeheartedly agree with President Obama that our health care system needs to change. My generation of doctors-to-be is keenly aware of the demand for low-cost, high-quality primary care physicians. Yet, four years from now, our idealistic dreams of serving the people will be overshadowed by the need to pay off nearly $250,000 of student debt! Until we find a way to help young doctors incur less student debt, there is little chance that my classmates will meet our nation’s growing health care needs without breaking the bank.

Sarah Zitsman
D.O., MPH Candidate
Touro University
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Class of 2013

Let's be clear about one thing: the AMA does NOT represent the interests of patients, and is a trade group representing the interests of doctors who make a fortune off of the current payment system that pays for quantity of services provided, NOT quality. There are thousands of doctors (represented by groups such as Doctors for America) who support President Obama's plan.

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