AMA to Orlando Sentinel: Health reform still work in progress
Aug. 19, 2012 (published)
Letter to the Editor
To the Editor:
The American Medical Association's (AMA) support for the federal health reform law reflects our role as a leading voice for covering the uninsured — who live sicker and die younger. The law is not perfect, and the AMA is working to achieve improvements for patients and physicians.
The AMA is actively supporting needed changes to the law, including elimination of the MedicareIndependent Payment Advisory Board because of its broad scope, lack of accountability and potential for subjecting physicians to arbitrary and detrimental across-the-board cuts. We are also aggressively advocating for changes to the value-based modifier, which calls for paying physicians based on performance. Without changes, the value-based modifier will inaccurately assess physician performance, resulting in unintended consequences for patients and physicians.
Moving beyond the health reform law, the AMA is focused on other problems within our health care system that predated this law and still need to be addressed. We've fought for years to eliminate the flawed Medicare physician payment formula that threatens access to care for seniors. We urge Congress to move Medicare forward by enacting a period when physicians can begin testing of and transitioning to new payment and delivery innovations.
We also continue to strongly support legislative efforts to enact proven, comprehensive medical liability reform. The cost of our broken medical-liability system is borne by everyone as defensive medicine adds billions of dollars to the cost of health care each year.
In the years ahead, particularly as the AMA embarks upon a new strategic direction for our organization, we will focus on improving health outcomes, accelerating change in medical education and shaping delivery and payment reforms to create a more coordinated health care environment in which physicians thrive in sustainable practice roles that are attractive to future generations.
The AMA will continue to work with Congress and the administration to resolve issues in the health reform law and to advance our health care system to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients and physicians.
Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD
President, American Medical Association