GOP docs challenge AMA support

July 22, 2009

Physicians in Congress voice their displeasure with the AMA's endorsement of the House's healthcare reform bill.

The AMA's endorsement last week of the House Democrats' healthcare bill no doubt raised some eyebrows. And sure enough, a group of Republican physician congressmen is challenging the position.

In a letter sent Friday to the AMA, 12 members of the GOP Doctors Caucus expressed their disappointment at what they called a "blanket endorsement" of America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009:

"Several important principles that you have strongly advocated for in the past are missing from the bill, such as liability reform, Medicare payment reform, and antitrust issues. This inherently jeopardizes the well-established relationship that exists among the over 250,000 members of the American Medical Association and their patients."

It looks like the group's real concern lies in the proposal's public option. The AMA has traditionally been a conservative group and support of a government-run health plan was a bit controversial.

(The GOP Doctors Caucus was formed in March to boost Republican physician influence, according to an American Medical News story. Most of the docs in Congress are Republicans, and health reforms are being heralded by Dems and the administration, so I am guessing there isn't a Democratic counterpart to this group?)

Here's the end of the letter: "... we fully believe that the AMA has lost touch with the vast majority o f physicians in this country. We therefore urge the AMA to reconsider its support for H.R. 3200."