The American Medicalcareisforrichpeople Association Secret Magic Decoder Ring
The AMA has come out in favor of voucherizing Medicare.
The Council recommends that the AMA support transitioning Medicare to a defined contribution program that would enable beneficiaries to purchase coverage of their choice through a Medicare exchange of competing health insurance plans.
I hate to say it, but there does seem to be a more nefarious agenda than that dictated by their political ideology. This may sound like an oversimplification, but I don't think it is: they want patients to pay their full fees in cash. They do not want an intermediary to control fees or to establish any other rules on how their services are to be reimbursed.
The Council on Medical
Sacrifice Service goes on to say:
In addition to supporting transitioning Medicare to a defined contribution program, the AMA should continue to strongly advocate for related Medicare reforms. Policies related to balance billing, private contracting, and the repeal of the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board remain particularly relevant and should be reaffirmed. Similarly, the AMA should continue to support incentives to encourage people to contribute to health savings accounts, and to promote their use as a means to ensure access to high quality medical care. It is also critical that the AMA continue to advocate for the other Medicare reforms articulated in Policy H-330.896, particularly restructuring beneficiary cost-sharing in order to provide incentives for appropriate utilization while discouraging unnecessary or inappropriate care, and increasing the Medicare eligibility age to reflect increases in the average life expectancy in the United States.
With the Secret Magic Decoder Ring:
Defined contribution shifts more of the responsibility for health care spending to the patients' pockets. Balance billing allows physicians to collect directly from the patient the balance of their full fees regardless of what any intermediary authorizes. Private contracting allows the physician to contract directly with the patient for full fees, again with no third party intervention. Health savings accounts are cash accounts which the physicians can tap directly. "Restructuring beneficiary cost-sharing in order to provide incentives for appropriate utilization" is code language for requiring patients to pay more in cash for any care they receive. Increasing Medicare eligibility age is a scheme to postpone the day that their patients become eligible for a public program that limits cash payments from patients. And there is much to be said about the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), good and bad, but the AMA fears this most of all since it would place control of their fees in the hands of an independent government board. (Much more needs to be said about IPAB, but not here.)
The good news is that nowadays only 15% of doctors hate you:
In the early 1950s, about 75% of US physicians were AMA members. That percentage has steadily decreased over the years. In June, at the annual meeting of its policy-making body, the House of Delegates, the AMA announced that it lost another 12 000 members last year.
That brings total membership below 216 000. Up to a third of those members don’t pay the full $420 annual dues, including medical students and residents. Not counting those members, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 15% of practising US doctors now belong to the AMA.
The bad news is that that 15% really does hate you:
The AMA congratulates President Obama on winning re-election as the President of the United States... As the nation's largest and most influential physician organization, the AMA is eager to continue working with elected leaders on both sides of the aisle to accelerate bold innovation....