Self-Serving AMA Sacrifices Patients to Business Interests


If the AMA had done its job of representing its constituents, the American people and Congress would have known what doctors really thought about ObamaCare before the final vote was taken. Instead, the “people and doctors of America have been betrayed by self-serving medical leaders,” states Adam Frederic Dorin, M.D., a San Diego anesthesiologist and founder of

From its coveted “place at the table,” the AMA “stakeholder” was most interested in defending its own status and its share of the takings expected from the “transformational change.”

“The ‘change’ is hardly a reform,” Dorin writes in the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.  It will create “an overwhelming burden of increased costs, fees, and taxes.” Any “protection” in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is for the interests of trial lawyers.

The AMA chose to disregard the majority dissent within its own ranks, and despite ample opportunity to reverse its misguided endorsement of PPACA, failed to do so. One has to ask: “Why?”

With its net revenue of $70 million to $100 million annually from its exclusive contract with the government to develop and sell billing codes, far greater than its dues revenue, the AMA can apparently afford to disregard the views of doctors, Dorin writes.

AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, M.D., defended the contract, saying “we should all be proud” of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®), in the AMA eVoice of Aug 27, 2010.  As he points out, “The AMA derives no income from the federal government for the agreement.” That is true, but disingenuous. The agreement enables the AMA to collect from doctors, who are forced to purchase updated code books each year, and to collect royalties from the licensing of the billing codes. 

Wilson downplays the significance of the agreement, and the AMA does not make the wording readily accessible to members. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) called attention to it in 1998.

While Wilson says the CPT® “is to the health care industry what a dictionary is to the publishing industry,” CPT® is more like a straitjacket for the industry than a dictionary. It does not reflect usage, but dictates it. By refusing to assign a code, the AMA can prevent payment for innovative procedures. And for the AMA, CPT® is like a ball and chain. If it strays too far from government’s wishes by advocating strongly for doctors, the AMA jeopardizes its cash cow.

As Americans learn what PPACA will mean for quality and access to medical services, “we are witnessing an ever-increasing chorus of Americans —from think tanks to tea partiers to accountants—who are decrying the underhanded tactics” used to get the legislation passed, including the exploitation of the AMA’s claim to speak for doctors.

Dorin helped organize the National Doctors Tea Party  on Aug 7 in San Diego to call for the repeal of ObamaCare, and to publicize the fact that the AMA does not represent the majority of doctors’ views on this legislation.

The Hill published a follow-up article on 9/7/2010.  Click here to read and leave a comment.

Watch video of Dr. Dorin speaking at Doctors Tea Party:


  1. Yes, there do appear to be problems with ObamaCare.

    Why didn’t we switch wholesale to a system like those used in the rest of the First World? They do, after all, deliver health care at least as good as ours for a third of the cost–you can cherrypick counterexamples, but any intellectually honest statistician will mock you for it. Better yet, we could perhaps have tried taking the best features of the best proven systems, combining them with a little of what used to be American ingenuity, and coming up with the best, least expensive system in the world.

    Why didn’t we do that, exactly? That was more or less the starting point for ObamaCare. When, and by whom, was that plan axed?

  2. So how do you fight this kind of corruption?? Do you just not play their game? Do you get pissed and throw a temper tantrum? How do you fight it? Drop out of the system?

  3. The headline of this post could have been used 75 years ago.

    A January 3, 1935, New York Times article (purchase required), “Doctors in Debate on Social Medicine,” reported that during a “discussion on the socialization of medicine,” the editor of The Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Morris Fishbein, “attacked the general proposal of socialization” and “ridicul[ed] the Roosevelt administration’s attempts to evolve a plan of socialized medicine.” Fishbein also reportedly said that the “American Medical Association [AMA] was strongly opposed to any scheme for group practice and to health insurance … because they are un-American.”