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Nation’s Largest Doc Group Fighting Democrats’ Public Plan

With their sights set on enacting health reforms this year that include the option of a government-backed insurance plan, Democrats in both Congress and the

Stefano Mclaughlin
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jun 11, 2009

With their sights set on enacting health reforms this year that include the option of a government-backed insurance plan, Democrats in both Congress and the White House found a formidable foe this week, as the American Medical Association — the largest doctors’ group in the country — announced its opposition to the concept. The New York Times’ Robert Pear has the story:

[I]n comments submitted to the Senate Finance Committee, the American Medical Association said: “The A.M.A. does not believe that creating a public health insurance option for non-disabled individuals under age 65 is the best way to expand health insurance coverage and lower costs. The introduction of a new public plan threatens to restrict patient choice by driving out private insurers, which currently provide coverage for nearly 70 percent of Americans.”

If private insurers are pushed out of the market, the group said, “the corresponding surge in public plan participation would likely lead to an explosion of costs that would need to be absorbed by taxpayers.”

Historically, AMA has tended toward the conservative, contributing to Republican lawmakers far more than have to Democrats in the past two decades. But the group also hasn’t been afraid to take on the insurance industry. It has emerged as one of the loudest critics of the Medicare Advantage program, which offers seniors the option of private coverage paid through Medicare — a boon to insurance companies that costs taxpayers, on average, 14 percent more to treat each patient than the traditional Medicare program.

Bolstered by AMA’s support, Democrats will likely succeed in scaling back those Medicare Advantage payments this year. But by siding with the insurers in opposition to the public plan proposal, the doctors’ group just complicated that facet of the Democrats’ reform plans.

Stefano Mclaughlin | For the first five years of his career, Stefano worked as a financial advisor on state and local tax matters, developing internal marketing technology for his multinational tax business. With over 12 years of experience designing high-performance web applications and interactive interactions, Stefano is now a marketing technology specialist and founder.

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