The American Medical Association which previously endorsed passage of the House and Senate health care reform bills has sent out a fax to physicians supporting passage of the revised bill to be voted upon this Sunday. The fax states that “We worked hard and made significant progress toward resolving” problems with the original Senate bill. They also state there are issues “that cannot be addressed through the current reconciliation process and will need to be address by Congress and the administration.”
The AMA calls for changes including repealing the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula, making changes in the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the cost-quality value index, rules for data release, and enactment of effective medical liability reforms.
While they consider this bill “an imperfect product” and see problems in the bill which I agree with, the AMA concludes that this bill “does, in fact, improve the ability of patients and their physicians to achieve better health outcomes.”
Update: The American Medical Association has also released a press release supporting the bill and a letter to Nancy Pelosi outlining their view. A more detailed explanation of these points was included in this letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in January.
Update 2: The fax has also been sent by email making it easier to post on line. The text is under the fold.
Update 3: The American Osteopathic Association supports health care reform legislation.
March 19, 2010
Here’s your regular update on efforts by the American Medical Association (AMA) to work with lawmakers in reforming the nation’s health care system in a way that provides quality, affordable health care for all.
AMA supports passage of health system reform legislation
After careful review and consideration, the AMA announced its qualified support (PDF) today of passage of health system reform legislation under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives. Passage would be another step forward in the journey to provide health care coverage for all Americans.
When H.R. 3590 was being considered in the U.S. Senate, the AMA supported its passage while expressing opposition to certain provisions that we believed could be resolved in the conference committee process. We worked hard and made significant progress toward resolving those issues before the conference negotiations ended. There are still issues in H.R. 3590 that cannot be addressed through the current reconciliation process and will need to be addressed by Congress and the administration.
By extending coverage to the vast majority of the uninsured, improving competition and choice in the insurance marketplace, promoting prevention and wellness, reducing administrative burdens, and promoting clinical comparative effectiveness research, the AMA believes that H.R. 3590 does, in fact, improve the ability of patients and their physicians to achieve better health outcomes.
The pending bill is an imperfect product. House and Senate leaders must move immediately to correct problems with:
- Access to care for seniors and military families by permanently repealing the Medicare sustainable growth rate formula that will trigger physician payment cuts of more than 21 percent next month
- The proposed Independent Payment Advisory Board
- The cost-quality value index
- Safeguards for data release and public reporting activities
- Unnecessary costs through enactment of effective medical liability reforms
Passage of H.R. 3590 marks an important step toward improving the health of the American people, but our work is far from done. Additional congressional action is needed to address outstanding issues. The AMA will be relentless in its pursuit of these important policy adjustments and will work with the administration on the next steps to strengthen our health care system.
The House is expected to vote on the health system reform bill on Sunday, March 21.