The Time is Now for Saving Private Medicine!

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Adios, ObamaCare!  And more great news from our Legal Force, the American Health Legal Foundation, AHLF.

Soon the U.S. Supreme Court will render its decision on the constitutionality of ObamaCare.

Thanks to your support, we fought this 10-year war, hopefully to an imminent victory.  We began the day ObamaCare was signed into law in March 2010, and we have continued to fight it long after others on our side gave up.

We filed multiple lawsuits against ObamaCare with AAPS as the plaintiff.  Our General Counsel also filed a lawsuit on behalf of a member of AAPS against it.  We filed even more amicus briefs in cases brought and appealed by others.

We did not win the first or second time, but we did not give up.  We knew you would want us to keep trying.

ObamaCare is the stepping-stone to single payer.  Many Democrats are even campaigning for president on the platform that ObamaCare was not liberal enough!

This latest appeal is from a Texas district court decision that invalidated ObamaCare as unconstitutional because of the elimination of the “tax” of the Individual Mandate.  A stay is pending as the Fifth Circuit appellate court decides.

We jumped in by filing an amicus brief to offset all the briefs filed the Leftist, single-payer supporters on the other side.

We got the Fifth Circuit’s attention.  This federal appellate court, which presides over Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, ordered the parties to respond to our objection to the legal standing of Nancy Pelosi and the liberal states led by California.  Only we raised this, in our amicus brief thanks to your support.

We have fought ObamaCare for 10 years while also fighting Maintenance of Certification (MOC), California AB 72 (price controls on reimbursements), sham peer review, overzealous medical boards, the War against Doctors, and more.

Meanwhile, we held our successful 76th annual conference in Southern California.  Some of our most freedom-loving members declined to relinquish their rights by traveling to that deep blue state! 

But an especially strong crop of medical students attended our conference this year.  They were enormously grateful to us and to you for supporting them.  They said they had never heard in medical school our message of freedom!

We are not surprised.  Many judges, trained in liberal law schools, have never heard our arguments either, and they need to hear our message too!  Your support makes it possible for us to file briefs in precedent-setting cases.

Among our many attendees at our recent conference were Dr. Jeff and Linda Rutgard, whom we helped a quarter-century ago when Jeff was an early target of the horrific War Against Doctors.  They are champions of charitable care and are honored worldwide for their Missions trips to restore sight to many who are blind.

It has been due to your generous support of AHLF – our American Health Legal Foundation – that we have been able to file legal briefs on behalf of good physicians like Jeff who have been victimized by the government.  Your support enables us to help keep private medicine alive.

The other side thought we would have quit and given up by now.  The enemies of medicine have far more lawyers and far more money.  California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra alone has sued the Trump Administration 59 times, and the Left expects to overwhelm our side with litigation to end private medicine.  But we have you on our side!

In addition to our work against ObamaCare, here is a sampling of our many efforts for physicians in other precedent-setting cases:

  1. Taking on Abusive Medical Boards.

The latest atrocity by medical boards is to discipline physicians based entirely on a mere denial by a hospital of renewal of his staff privileges, without even giving him due process.  At a hospital hearing a physician may not be able to compel the attendance of witnesses, unless he sues to compel witness attendance under a legal precedent we established.

We were there on short notice in Kentucky recently when its medical board attempted this “slam dunk” style of discipline against a physician based merely on an improper non-renewal of his privileges by a hospital.  Our General Counsel testified there in favor of the physician at the administrative hearing to explain that medical boards are not providing constitutionally required due process when they seek to automatically impose discipline based on a hospital’s sham peer review.

  1. Ending Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

 The recent news of dismissal of a lawsuit against MOC and ABIM was not any of our pending cases.  We are involved in three different, precedent-setting cases against MOC or related certification, from federal court in Chicago to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Unlike the dismissed (non-AAPS) lawsuit against MOC, one of the cases in which our General Counsel is participating seeks to hold ABIM executives personally liable for their misconduct.  Why should these executives be allowed to enrich themselves while destroying the careers of physicians?

  1. Taking on Insurance Companies.

Did you know that insurance companies receive more favored treatment in some federal courts than even the United States government enjoys?

Courts do not allow the federal government to invoke an anti-assignment law to evade its payment obligations to people who take assignment, when the government previously waived its objection to the assignment.

Yet within the Ninth Circuit, aka Ninth Circus, insurance companies can waive an ERISA anti-assignment clause at the time of surgery, and yet later change their mind and invoke the same anti-assignment clause to refuse to pay physicians.

We recently filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit to end this incredibly preferential treatment of insurance companies by courts under ERISA plans.

  1. Standing Up against Sham Peer Review.

We get as many calls about sham peer review as any other issue.  Other medical societies almost never help in these cases, which establish the balance of power between hospitals and private physicians.  Far too much power has shifted to hospitals at the expense of the practice of private medicine and patients.

In oral argument on October 10, a state appellate court heard a precedent-setting appeal of a summary suspension of an independent physician despite no alleged imminent harm to patients.  Instead, the hospital misused summary suspension to exclude the physician for issues unrelated to the quality of care.  Then hospitals hide behind the Health Care Quality Improvement Act (“HCQIA”) to avoid accountability.

We argued this historic case because summary suspension should never be used except to safeguard against imminent harm to patients.  And HCQIA should not shield hospital wrongdoing in deprivation of physicians’ rights.

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While other medical societies talk and talk but then refuse to show up in court when needed, we are on the front lines in court defending private medicine. 

Other medical societies have mostly given up on medical freedom, but we won’t.  We have defended private medicine since 1943, and will fight as long as necessary to defend physicians.

AAPS is unique.  Please make a tax-deductible gift to our American Health Legal Foundation.  The legal precedents that we are able to establish, with your support, enable freedom in medicine to survive despite the overwhelming forces arrayed against it.

Thank you for any generous gift that you can make!!

Sincerely,

Jane Orient, MD