Physicians' Group Condems AMA Support for GOP Medicare Plan

October, 1995

Chicago -- "The American Medical Association shamelessly put physician and corporate interests over the health of their senior patients today in endorsing the GOP's Medicare proposal," said Dr. Quentin Young, an internist in Chicago and national spokesperson for the 7,000 member Physicians for a National Health Program. "The AMA has bitterly opposed Medicare since its creation, and now is endorsing a plan that would lead to its demise. Many of the worst features of the GOP plan are, in fact, straight out of the AMA's own Medicare proposal. If this bill passes, they will have blood on their hands."

"Preserving Medicare and improving patient care for the frail elderly is not on the AMA agenda. They are willing to pit physicians directly against their patients in a battle for the dollar. They are collaborating with the Republicans to cap malpractice awards, repeal protections against physician fraud and abuse, and give the newly emerging for-profit physicians' groups equal access to the $100 billion plus windfall the GOP plan creates for private insurers/HMOs. Private insurers take 15 to 30 percent of premiums for overhead, CEO salaries, and profits, compared with just 1.9 percent in traditional Medicare. The AMA is also seeking the right to price-gouge seniors for more than Medicare pays."

"We believe that most Americans, and most physicians, support health care reform based on principles of social justice and medical need, not the current reforms driven by Wall Street and the AMA's greed. With fewer than 50% of physicians in its ranks, and having sunk to a new low, the AMA has forfeited the right to speak for American physicians."