Is the American Medical Association (AMA) in Obama’s Back Pocket?

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By Alieta Eck, MD

In the recent AMNews, June 7, 2010, pp 6-7, we physicians were given talking points on how to tell our patients about ObamaCare.  It was so full of “happy-speak” that one must wonder if the AMA has paid lobbyists for the Administration.

A typical question might be, “What’s in it for me?”   We are to say “For many patients who don’t have coverage and can’t afford it, the government in 2014 will offer sliding scale credits to buy a plan… Employers also are going to be expected to step up to the plate, offering coverage or kicking in part of the premium for employees who sign up for plans through the insurance exchanges.”  

Of course, that is assuming that our patients still have jobs.  But we must not say that.

Our patients might ask, “Are Medicare or Medicaid going to help more?”  Our answer is to be “Medicaid will undergo a major expansion.  …the federal government will be footing the bill for most of the expansion, but states will be required to help pay for it, provided a lawsuit by several states challenging the Medicaid piece does not invalidate it.”  

We probably should leave out the fact that most physicians cannot afford to see Medicaid patients at the current reimbursement rates, as we ought to present a positive front.

“Will there be enough doctors to see everyone?” The short answer is “No.”  But The AMA suggests we tell them that “The federal government will commit more money toward primary care training, redistribute unused medical education slots to primary care and general surgery, and commit more funding toward incentives for primary care doctors to work in critical care areas.”

Never mind that the federal and state governments are already bankrupt.

Here’s a great line. We can tell them that “innovative care delivery models and measures aimed at boosting health quality and efficiency are part of the reform law’s plan to maximize the power of the existing physician work force.”  

Of course, that might be difficult as 40% of physicians, so demoralized by the specter ObamaCare, will be retiring or looking for other ways to earn a living.

“How might our plan of care change?”  Here is where real doublespeak needs to be applied.  The AMNews tells us to say that “coverage expansion should improve access to preventive care, allowing physicians to order relative fewer complex services and hospitalize fewer patients.  

Effective in 2014, insurers will be required to cover a certain set of basic services, meaning that doctors and patients might not need to find as many alternatives to care that otherwise would be deemed too costly.”   

We must not suggest that the government might deem cheaper and less care to be the “best,” as we must always assume that the bureaucrats in Washington really care about us.

Above all, we must reassure our patients that the government will be efficient, competent and careful in the way our collective health care money is spent. We can always point to the efficient speed with which the government has handled the oil spill in the Gulf.

The most important question of all might be “Will you keep me as a patient?”  This answer as given by the AMNews was the most honest. They say, “Nothing in the reform law requires a physician to continue seeing existing patients or to take new ones through insurance exchanges, though many say they will as long as their practices can afford to provide the care.”  

As a physician in private practice, I will be happy to answer this myself.  I can say that I have no intention of participating in any health plan and thus I will provide care without having to consider a bureaucrat looking over my shoulder.  As stated in the Oath of Hippocrates, I will “follow the system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients.”

I will also tell them that as long as we can keep any third party out of most encounters, I will be able to keep their medical records private.  If my patients are willing to pay a fair price for my service, I will remain willing to provide that care.


Dr. Alieta Eck, MD graduated from the Rutgers College of Pharmacy in NJ and the St. Louis School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. She studied Internal Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ and has been in private practice with her husband, Dr. John Eck, MD in Piscataway, NJ since 1988. She has been involved in health care reform since residency and is convinced that the government is a poor provider of medical care. She testified before the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress in 2004 about better ways to deliver health care in the United States. In 2003, she and her husband founded the Zarephath Health Center, a free clinic for the poor and uninsured that currently cares for 300-400 patients per month utilizing the donated services of volunteer physicians and nurses.  Dr. Eck is a long time member of the Christian Medical Dental Association and in 2009 joined the board of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. In addition, she serves on the advisory board of Christian Care Medi-Share, a faith based medical cost sharing Ministry. She is a member of Zarephath Christian Church and she and her husband have five children, one in medical school in NJ.

13 Comments

  1. Of course the AMA is in the President’s back pocket. how can there be any doubt about that ?

  2. Thank you for not being afraid of speaking out, and letting the public Know what is truly going on.

    Loretta Knittel

  3. Thank you Doctor for your honesty. How can we stop this president???
    He is hurting this country and Iam sick of all I keep hearing. I have worked for a
    physician and a physical therapy unit and I understand health insurance issues.
    How can our government take over something they do not understand or can afford to make promises they can not keep. We need to have this president and all of the senate removed as soon as possible.

  4. Of course they are. It is the leadership, not the doctors. The leadership is a bunch of losers who couldn’t diagnose a hang nail but want the power that they think will come if they back BO. Little do they realize that BO will stab them in the back when he is through with them.

  5. AMA and AAFP (Family Physicians) have sold out the doctors. Hopefully, this “reform” the majority does not want will be overturned. We doctors are at the apex of the health care pyramid. We need to stay united and not roll over to idiotic government regulation. Health care will not work without us.

  6. Remember, ED Docs don’t have a choice. We have to see everyone who comes through the door. So when the Private Docs who “cannot afford to see Medicaid patients at the current reimbursement rates” stop taking Medicaid, guess who gets “stuck” with all these fine citizens?!

    This will drive Independent EM Group Practices out of business. The only way for an Independent EM Practice to survive in this scenario is with a huge subsidy from the Hospital or from Obama. And what do you think the chances of that are?

  7. I am not a doctor, but I have a good friend who is,and have great respect for all you who surely have a heart of compassion for the sick. I think it is terrible that you have spent so much time and effort, not to mention money, to become a physician and then get this “slap in the face” because of the stupidity of the president and his coharts. His goal is control and more control. He doesn’t care for the people of this country. I highly resent the fact that because I am a senior citizen, in pretty good health, and a zest for living, that some bunch of beaurcrats can tell me how to live or die. That is the Almighty God’s business and Obama is not God! Thank you for speaking out and letting people know what is happening. There is alot more going one than just Healthcare that is very bad for this country and I pray that people will come back to God and He will turn things around before it is too late. November election day is so very, very important.

  8. I’m not sure we can overcome Obama even with a new congress, as he is so powerful. People do as Obama wants. There is a chance that we can change things in Nov.with God’s help.

  9. Thank you for presenting this information, which probably would not be seen by the 80+ percent of physicians who do not belong the the American Medical Association, for obvious reasons. It would seem that the same hacks who write the propaganda for AARP publications are also writing for the AMA News. The lack of credibility is sad and dangerous.

  10. The AMA has been toying with patients since WWII, when they were only acknowledging “certain disciplines”, they continue to do this. We all need to be FEE FOR SERVICE, stop excepting insurance all together, and accept fair copayments for services rendered. All medical professionals need to stop the slavery to anyone who wants to control our fees and services, including the more radical Marxists in our ranks.

  11. I’m an RN working for a small insurance plan, and I have to wonder how long we will survive. The staffing requirements to handle the paperwork and documentation required by Medicare and Medicaid keeps growing. Reimbursement from the state and feds keeps decreasing, and the commercial side of our business does not generate enough revenue to support the government plans. Socialized medicine is well on its way. Unless America loses the “What’s in it for me” attitude they will lose the best health care in the world and settle for rationed, mediocre care parcelled out by the government. And they will receive it in delapidated hospitals rampant with bacterial infection like Canada has now. Check out the web for articles on Canadian Hospitals and C. deficile infection rates.

  12. Yes I do think the AMA is in Obama’s back pocket. Anything Obama wants is passed. Even if the American people do not want it. How many times do we say No we don’t want this. We don’t want Obamacare,We don’t want Kagan, We don’t want the bail outs of any big businesses. We don’t want gay marriages. What part of NO do you not understand. The Constitution is what we want. We do not need it changed.