September 9th, 2009
09:29 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama gets boost from American Medical Association

The AMA announced on its Web site it is backing health care reform.

The AMA announced on its Web site it is backing health care reform.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just hours before President Obama speaks out on health care reform in front of a joint session of Congress, the president has secured an important boost.

The American Medical Association, in an "Open Letter to President Obama and Members of Congress," signed by the group's president, is urging Congress to reach a deal on health care reform

"On behalf of America's physicians and their patients, we strongly urge you to reach agreement this year on health system reforms," says the AMA President, Doctor J. James Rohack.

On its Web site, the AMA describes itself as the largest medical association of physicians in the nation, representing physicians from every state work together to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.

Full AMA letter after the jump:

September 8, 2009

Open Letter to President Obama and Members of Congress

As our nation's elected leaders, you have an historic opportunity to improve the health and well-being of the American public.

On behalf of America's physicians and their patients, we strongly urge you to reach agreement this year on health system reforms that include the following seven critical elements:

Provide health insurance coverage for all Americans Enact insurance market reforms that expand choice of affordable coverage and eliminate denials for pre-existing conditions Assure that health care decisions are made by patients and their physicians, not by insurance companies or government officials Provide investments and incentives for quality improvement, prevention and wellness initiatives Repeal the Medicare physician payment formula that will trigger steep cuts and threaten seniors' access to care Implement medical liability reforms to reduce the cost of defensive medicine Streamline and standardize insurance claims processing requirements to eliminate unnecessary costs and administrative burdens The challenges in our health care system are many and complex.

Enactment of the above policies will create the foundation for a stronger, better performing health care system, improve access to affordable, high-quality care and reduce unnecessary costs. Further, those who are currently insured, including Medicare patients, and those who are uninsured will all benefit from greater security and stability.

The American Medical Association and our individual members are working hard to improve health care delivery and quality through a broad range of initiatives to promote best practices and reduce unnecessary costs.

We reaffirm our commitment to work with each of you to adopt and implement health system reforms that will benefit all Americans.


J. James Rohack MD

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. beevee

    This should be an eye opener for many americans who blindly beleive what the special interest groups are telling them. It is time t olisten to the president with your ears open and brains not muddled with false statements by those who oppose the health reform.

    September 9, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  2. Pat, CA

    "Assure that health care decisions are made by patients and their physicians, not by insurance companies or government officials"
    This statement hardly supports government-run healthcare.

    The entire letter simply states that we need to improve what we already have, NOT some pricey new boondoggle proposed by the Dems.

    How is this a "boost" for Obama, CNN?

    September 9, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Dave

    The AMA is a self serving organization which does not represent the physicians of America. All it cares about is to keep collecting money from billing codes. Majority of physicians, like myself, in this country oppose the current reform proposal which will put goverment between me and my patients, lead to more rationing of care and ultimately substandard, low level, delayed care. Is this what the AMA is endorsing??

    There is no real reform without Tort reform. The democrats will not talk about tort reform because they do not want to upset their biggest campaign contributors- the lawers. All the talk about "change" was nothing but bull.

    September 9, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Mike in LR

    How is this a boost? The AMA clearly does not support a government run option. These are conservative ideas not even close to the snake oil BO has been selling

    September 9, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. ksteach

    Whose opinion do I want to go with – Sarah Palin or the AMA?

    September 9, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. I can see Canada from my house!

    Oh no! The Socialists have gotten to the doctors! Bring out Palin's preacher to perform exorcisms! They are endorsing death panels!

    Can't wait to see what the frothing Right wing will say today. One thing is for certain, there won't be a viable alternative offered: that would involve work, and we all know conservatives won't think any harder than they have to.

    September 9, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. Jefe

    Neoconservatives don't believe any reforms improving things for patients or physicians are a good idea. The only reforms they want are those which benefit health insurance, pharmeceutical, and hospital corporations, to the detriment of Americans.

    September 9, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. sandy

    YES! I hope these people who are elected to serve the people will come up with health care reform. I worked in the medical field for 30 years and I saw many,many people loose their life savings when confronted with a medical disaster. I fought insurance companies every day to pay for patient care and found that most had the most ridiculous reason for refusing to pay benefits. I saw old people pray to die so their familes would not have to take on the responsibility for their care. This country needs health care reform and it needs a publlic option to curtail the insurance companies dominance over the health care system. Take it from someone who saw it everyday of the work week.

    September 9, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. Ren from Baltimore

    Hospitals and now Physicians, and even the Pharmaceutical industry, have all come out with support and various solutions to help reduce health care costs.

    Still the only obvious absentee is the Insurance industry. To those in either party who are so beholden to that industry that they seek to drag down our economy and the very health of the nation by dragging your feet on reform, may you not rest in peace. May you not even be offered jobs with the industry, and maybe not even be covered by any insurance program. Join the millions of Americans in that same boat.

    September 9, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. Dad of a Diabetic

    I hope that Obama will make it possible for Children with type 1 diabetes to buy health insurance when they become young adults and go off of their parents' health insurance plan. Young people with deadly diseases should not remain uninsurable forever. I hope that the left does not scrap a chance to help uninsurable young adults get health insurance over a public option. Two-Thirds of a loaf is better than no loaf. History teaches that progress can come in steps. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not outlaw literacy test, but it still passed and was a step forward. The voting Rights Act of 1965 was another step forward. No change, the Conservative position, will be a disaster for every child in America who survives cancer or has diabetes and cannot buy health insurance when they become young adults.

    September 9, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Lobbyists Rule

    Its great to see Obama embracing the lobbyists. For a second there we thought he was actually going to stand by his campaign promises. Whew!!!!!

    September 9, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Gary Janiszewski

    It sounds remarkably similar to the many proposals put forth by Republican politicians since the beginning of this debate. You won't find most of these proposals in the Obamacare plan. Unfortunately Obamacare and the enactment of a government run insurance company would ultimately run private entities out of business. Most of us, excluding of course members of unions and Congress, would have the kind of healthcare currently enjoyed by those recieving Medicare/ Medicaid and of course the VA. But don't worry my union brothers and sisters, our time will come eventually.
    Obamacare like Hillarycare before it, is the dumbing down of American Healthcare.

    September 9, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. Debbie

    My concern here is that there are unlimited numbers of tests doctors could run on people to make sure they don't have an illness. They stand to make a lot of money as a result of no one stepping in and setting limits. It's a slippery slope, huh?

    September 9, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. Wake Up

    No government control of my health care. No public option, no way. Less government now.

    September 9, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. sharp2

    What this article does not mention is the 7 steps addressed int the Sept 9 letter to the President that the AMA wants the President cover in his health care plan. Some of these 7 steps are NOT what the President and most democrats want. One step says specifically it does NOT want government or insurance companies making patient/doctor decision. NO REAL BOOST FROM AMA.

    September 9, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  16. David

    Bravo! God bless President Obama.

    September 9, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  17. MR

    good letter. what else do we need to hear? A rebuttal letter from the insurance lobby? That would be a nice read. Not sure they could put a positive spin on their stance...then we ever hear from them. Ahh, yes...through their spokesperson; Sarah "Death Panel" Palin.

    September 9, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. shmeckel

    I don’t understand the headline "Obama gets boost". The letter seems to back a lot of what the republicans are asking for. Open up the markets, and don’t let government officials make decisions. However, I think it is great they specified not to let insurance companies make decisions either (which is the only thing in the letter backing democrats). I did not see anything that said government option is a good idea; and that is what the big fight is about.

    September 9, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. Dan, TX

    WE want health care reform now.

    1) No pre-existing condition exclusions
    2) No dropping of coverage due to illness or change in job status.
    3) No dropping of coverage for wives when their husbands divorce them.

    September 9, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  20. Hugo

    Hmmmmm, just what percentage of practicing doctors actually belong to the AMA?

    September 9, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. Some republican guy

    What the heck do a bunch of doctors know about healthcare? They must be socialists. Don't they know about the evil narcisstic Obamabots and the ACORN thugs who will take over your doctor's office if this reform passes? I pray every night that my grandbabies don't have to grow up in their communist regime. If your a communist loving Obamabot you should move to Canada and leave this country to the real Americans. Did you see that picture on Fox news of the elitest Obama wearing a black buray with a hammer and sickle on it? That's all you need to know about him. Have a nice day!

    September 9, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. Shibumi

    The AMA needs to state what percentage of the US physicians it represents. The figure is less than 20%.
    Would you want Dingle Barry as your boss?

    September 9, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  23. sherry

    Now how are the republican's going to smear that?
    They are the party of gloom and doom.......not the party of hope and optumism.

    September 9, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. SHIRLEY "61"

    My premiums are way to high, and I need relief now. I just hate to think how much they will be at renewal time, 6/1/2010. The insurance and pharmaceutical companies will no doubt increase them outragelously next year to pay for all the money spent this year trying to stop reform. We have to have something that makes their rates lower, and that is healthcare reform now. To those of you who think that the money coming out of your salaries is not enough now, and want even more to come out in future, you really need to have your heads examined. This whole GOP instigated foolishness over healthcare reform that we witnessed in August is completely ridiculous, and I hope that real americans stop all the hatred being spewed by things wingnuts. America now looks as if it has lost all civility because an african american was elected president of a country that boasts of all its kindness and opportunities that are available to all its citizens. WAKE UP HATERS, BARACK OBAMA IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND IS MOVING US FORWARD JUST AS HE PROMISED!

    September 9, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  25. LacrosseMom

    Good! We have several friends who are physicians, and they ALL support President Obama's work towards national healthcare. These doctors know first hand how hard it is to be uninsured or underinsured.

    Let's keep in mind, folks, that the GOP was ...... also........ against........

    Social Security
    Unemployment benefits
    Minimum wage
    The Voting Rights Act

    The GOP has a history of fear mongering and lies.

    September 9, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
1 2 3 4 5