RESOLUTION 61-06, 2004: Congressional Investigation of HHS Compliance with Social Security Act


WHEREAS: the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons believes in the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship; and

WHEREAS: the AAPS Principles of Medical Ethics state that patients should have the freedom to contract with their physician(s) on mutually agreeable terms, and that the value of those professional services should be determined only by mutual agreement between the patient and physician; and

WHEREAS: AAPS believes that the interference of third-parties into the patient-physician relationship results in compromised care; and

WHEREAS: any measures that tend to lower the standards of medical care are unethical and immoral; and

WHEREAS: the Oath of Hippocrates requires physicians to prescribe a “regimen for the good of my patients according to my ability and judgment,” not one determined by government agency or insurance bureaucrat; and

WHEREAS: it is obvious that Congress never intended for any agency of the federal government to control the practice of medicine for Medicare-eligible patients, to wit:Title XVIII Section 1801 of the Social Security Act of 1965, titled “Prohibition against any federal interference” specifically prohibits “…any supervision, or control over the practice of medicine or the manner in which medical services are provided over the selection tenure of compensation of any…person providing health services.”

Further, Title XVIII, Section 1802 of the Social Security Act of 1965, title “Free Choice by Patient Guaranteed,” states that “Any individual entitled to insurance benefits under this title may obtain health services from any institution, agency, or person qualified to participate under this title if such institution, agency, or person undertakes to provide his such services”;

WHEREAS: physicians who are willing to provide services to patients under the Medicare program are now prohibited from doing so if they choose to negotiate a private contract with even one Medicare-eligible patient; and

WHEREAS: Medicare program administrators routinely determine medical necessity and impose limiting charges even on services not covered by Medicare; and

WHEREAS: it is clear that current regulations and administration of the Medicare program violate the stated original intent of Congress to prevent interference in medical care for Medicare-eligible patients; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons calls for Congressional investigations into whether the Department of Health and Human Services is in compliance with Sections 1801 and 1802 of the Social Security Act of 1965, and that until such an investigation is completed, calls for a moratorium on any further laws, regulations, or policies that extend the powers of HHS over the practice of medicine.