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Doc Group All Over the Map on Support for Public Plan « The Washington Independent

Earlier this week, the American Medical Association, the largest doctors’ organization in the country, submitted comments to Senate lawmakers announcing the group’s opposition to the inclusion of a public plan in the Democrats’ health reform blueprint.

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.

Yesterday, the group took it all back, claiming the earlier statement was misinterpreted. Via Swampland:

The AMA opposes any public plan that forces physicians to participate, expands the fiscally-challenged Medicare program or pays Medicare rates, but the AMA is willing to consider other variations of a public plan that are currently under discussion in Congress. This includes a federally chartered co-op health plan or a level playing field option for all plans.

With so much at stake in the battle over how to reform health care — a $2.3 trillion a year industry — you can bet this won’t be the last case of a stakeholder group modifying its remarks. These organizations are powerful, and they want their voices heard, but they also don’t want to alienate the president on the eve of the debate. And while the White House has been purposely vague about its preferences for specific policy changes, Obama has also made clear he wants some form of a public plan in the eventual bill.

Other industries, take note.

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