Sunday, October 7, 2012

Suggestion to Romney Campaign: Help to Repeal & Replace the AMA and AARP

In touting  his comprehensive federal health care take-over program, President Obama is fond of citing the support  for the plan by the AMA, whom he puts forth as doctor and patient advocates and the "voice of practicing physicians". Nothing could be further from the truth. 

As practicing surgeon, Dr. Richard Armstrong points out, the AMA represents the best interests of neither- and, over the years, has evolved to become yet another specialist interest group which represents itself and which has a vested interest in maintaining "its fair share" of taxpayer money and provides a historical perspective of the AMA. In his passionate salespitch for government run medicine / Medicare ,voters would be wise to recognize the familiar rhetoric put forth by President Kennedy as  President Obama has practically plagiarized in support of the signature government run scheme that bears his name. Likewise, the same voters would be even wiser to judge the warning of Dr Annis below about the economic and social consequences of Medicare over the past 40-some years as an accurate predictor of what the future holds, for American health care and the US economy should ObamaCare not be repealed and replaced with economically sound reform.:

"[..In the run-up to the establishment of the federal Medicare program in 1962, then-AMA president] Dr. Edward Annis spoke to an empty Madison Square Garden in May 1962 because the media would not televise his direct response to President Kennedy’s speech pushing for the creation of Medicare then called the King-Anderson Bill.

Dr. Annis predicted the top-down government controls; the rules and regulations; the giant bureaucracy, and even the fiscal insolvency that looms large today. But the train left the station in 1965 with the passage of Medicare, and in 1983, the AMA jumped on board - for money and the promise of control.

The government was looking for a way to standardize medical billing for Medicare, and the AMA had just the thing. We call it Current Procedural Terminology. The AMA owns it, and the organization signed an exclusive agreement with the government in 1983 that made it the coding system for all Medicare billing.

Gradually, the terminology became the standard for all medical billing - private insurance and government plans. The AMA has a government-granted monopoly, and it enjoys a lucrative stream of income as a result.

It is estimated that the AMA takes in between $50 million and $80 million per year from licensing fees and the sale of coding books, materials and other related products. This income dwarfs the amount generated from dues-paying physician members. See the problem? 

The AMA is a corporation in the business of selling and protecting its Current Procedural Terminology income stream, not its doctor members. The emperor truly has no clothes, and America’s working physicians have no effective representation to counter the massive power of the federal government and the new Affordable Care Law, which will control the entire health care economy by 2014...."

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Health care economist John Goodman points out,  that if you want to know where the  organization's interests lie, you merely need to follow the money:

" ...If representation follows revenues, the AMA’s most important customer is probably the federal government.".

Given President Obama's demonstrated proclivity to cite the support of the AMA to bolster support for his federal health care overhaul, Gov. Romney would be wise to distance himself from the organization and to publicly support, promote and publicize the educational and patient and health care reform advocacy  missions of America's practicing physicians and physician groups which actually advocate for the doctor patient relationship and real health care reform, such as Docs4PatientCare, American Association of Physicians and Surgeons,Doctor Patient Medical Association, Physicians for Reform and others to provide the practicing physicians' viewpoints on the problems and solutions to America's health care crisis and inform the American public about the dangers of ObamaCare. 

As non-profit organizations and patient advocacy groups, they may not be able to formally endorse a political candiate, however Governor Romney should be aware that he can endorse THEM - and facilitate their mission and  ongoing efforts  to educate the American public about the perils and pitfalls of govlernment run medicine and the sound, free market alternatives to health care reform.

In regard to  the mission of Docs4PatientCare:

"Originally conceived to oppose passage of the Affordable Care Act, the physician members of D4PC dedicated their efforts toward educating their patients, the public and lawmakers about the dangers of government controlled healthcare and the eventual destruction of the doctor-patient relationship. "

Both doctors and patients need an organization that effectively advocates to protect the practice of medicine from destructive government and 3rd party payer control.  As Dr. Sally Pipes points out, the reality is that , "Doctors Say ObamaCare is No Remedy for US Health Woes."

Likewise, President Obama similarly cites the support of the AARP for his health care plan, " saying many of the proposals will lower costs and increase the quality of care for older Americans." What is unknown to many is the clear political self-interest and financial interest of the AARP in supporting ObamaCare and the manner and extent to which it compromises the interests of its unsuspecting senior citizen members in pursuit of bling. In assessing its motives. an educated voter must be made aware of  "How the AARP Made $2.8 Billion By Supporting ObamaCare's Cuts to Medicare:
"Why is it that the group that purports to speak for seniors, the American Association of Retired Persons, so strongly supports a law that most seniors oppose? According to an explosive new report from Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), it’s because those very same Medicare cuts will give the AARP a windfall of $1 billion in insurance profits, and preserve another $1.8 billion that AARP already generates from its business interests...."

While President Obama cites a financially tainted and compromised AARP which sells its membership to the highest bidder to bolster support for ObamaCare, Gov. Romney should enlist the support and assistance of  senior citizens groups such as American in promoting his educational campaign to senior citizens regarding Medicare, Social Security and entitlement reform.

In conclusion, just as a complicit mainstream media serves as accomplices to Obama's campaign of voter disinformation, so do the AMA and AARP, the well-known mainstream doctors and senior citizen "advocacy' organizations who have sold their principles and membership down the river for financial gain and who promote Obama's health care plan on that basis. These groups need to be discredited and marginalized and Americans need to be made aware of organizations that truly represent the interests of doctors, patients, and senior citizens. It is in Governor Romney best interest to promote and support the public visibility and educational mission of  such organizations to combat the Obama and MSM disinformation campaign and promote his own free market alternatives.

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