Medical Tuesday Blog
Is the AMA no longer Hippocrates Kin?
Why the AMA endorses OBAMACARE but your doctor does not?
There was a time up to until the 1980s, that the AMA made most of its revenue from physicians’ dues. In those days, presumably, they cared about the issues that negatively affected physicians, and by extension, the practice of medicine and patient care. In 1963, when the AMA was not given equal time to rebut president Kennedy’s Madison Square Garden speech arguing for Medicare, the AMA rented the empty Garden, and the President, Dr. Edward Annis, made an impassioned televised plea exhorting Americans to avoid the trap of socialized medicine.
Today’s AMA is a different animal. This year, only 15% of practicing physicians are members, down from 75% in the 1950’s. Between 2008 and 2010, membership declined by 5%. But, despite of hemorrhaging members, the organization has done financially better than ever. Between 1987 and 1999, the organization was invariably in the red”, and never reported over $78.6 million in yearly profit. But beginning in 2000, for 12 consecutive years, the organization operated in the black”, reporting record net incomes of $39.89 million in 2005, and most recently $24.7 million profit in 2011.
… What was the secret? In the mid-1980s, the AMA, in a brilliant business move, created a coding system that all doctors and hospitals required to bill the government or private insurance: The CPT codebook. . . These code books change yearly, which requires ongoing purchasing, and become more complex creating a whole new breed of serious medical errors. These errors not only can be costly, but also seriously jeopardize a physician’s license which in turn jeopardizes the physician’s income. . .
The AMA has become an arm—sometimes a strong-arm—of the government. The AMA determines which specialties will benefit based on which specialties have the greatest AMA membership which affords them a seat at the bargaining table.
There are many specialties standing up against the government takeover of medicine, such as the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a free market group which is the only organization fighting socialized medicine in the courts. Also included are the American Academy of Dermatologists Association, the American Urologic Association, the Congress of Neurologic Surgeons, and 36 other professional state and local organizations which have gone on record opposing Obamacare. Sadly, the AMA has become an agency of the federal government, not an advocate for patients or private practice physicians who are committed to the best care of their individual patients.
Consequently, the AMA can no longer be considered a Kin of Hippocrates. How sad.
Hippocrates and His Kin / Hippocrates Modern Colleagues