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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

AMA HOUSE OF DELEGATES PONDERS NEXT MOVES ON HEALTH SYSTEM REFORM

With large numbers of delegates incensed that AMA supported HR 3962, the AMA House of Delegates convened this weekend in Houston. Debate in a reference committee dealing with legislative matters stretched on for more than eight hours Sunday as delegates from various state and specialty societies both praised and lambasted AMA for supporting the bill. (See our live blog of the reference committee debate.) Much of the most constructive discussion focused on making sure that AMA spells out specifically what it does and does not like in the bill, on what to do with it next in the Senate, and on how medicine can make sure that HR 3961 or some other permanent Medicare payment fix is passed before the 21-percent cuts in physician payments take effect Jan. 1. The just-released recommendation from the reference committee (PDF) does not deal with the question of AMA’s support for the bill, but sticks to guiding principles, positions that AMA supports, and issues of concern. Among specific items of interest from the committee report:
  • The language on replacing the SGR copies TMA’s Texas Medicare Manifesto: “National health care reform must include replacing the SGR with a Medicare physician payment system that automatically keeps pace with the cost of running a practice, and is backed by a fair, stable funding formula.”
  • “A single payer, government-run health care system is not in the best interest of the country and must not be part of national health system reform.”
  • Health reform legislation must not expose physicians to new legal liability, and “failure to follow each and every clinical practice guideline should not be used to create a presumption of negligence.”
House of Delegates debate on the recommendations is scheduled for this afternoon. Once again TMA will cover the proceedings live via Blogged Arteries. Tune in.

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