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AMA to Wall Street Journal: AMA Support of Affordable Care Act

July 6, 2012(unpublished)

Wall Street Journal
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

The recent column from Daniel Henninger (ObamaCare's Lost Tribe: Doctors, 7-5-12) describes challenges facing physicians in our nation, but incorrectly attributes them to the health reform law. Quality reporting requirements were established years before passage of the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, ongoing intrusions from government, insurers and others outside the exam room have chipped away at the patient-physician relationship. Protecting this relationship has been – and will remain – a core focus for the American Medical Association.

While the law is not perfect, the AMA, the nation's largest physician organization, supported it because it makes necessary improvements to our health care system. We are pleased the law expands coverage to millions of uninsured who live sicker and die younger than those with insurance. It allows physicians to see patients earlier before care is more expensive, provides funding for research on drugs and treatments, increases Medicare and Medicaid payments for primary care physicians and includes Medicare bonus payments for general surgeons in underserved areas.

The AMA is working during implementation of the law to make changes like eliminating the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Lawmakers also must address two problems that predate the law, the broken Medicare physician payment formula and the flawed medical liability system.

Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD
President, American Medical Association