Search This Blog

Monday, October 26, 2009

Does the AMA represent us?

Esteemed Colleagues,

I recently had a non-physician tell me that a recent survey by the AMA showed that "physicians in the US overwhelmingly supported universal health care". I explained to him that the AMA members only represented about 15% of all US physicians--at which time he explained to me that it was a random survey of all licensed physicians, including non-AMA members.

Is this true--or have I been locked in a time-warp?

(I actually looked at the numbers and found out that approximately 57% of those responding (of 2000 surveyed), actually supported a "public option", but for the sake of argument, I calculated the numbers and pointed out to him that 1200 respondants that supported the "public option" was hardly an overwhelming mandate and that that number actually represented less than 00.0015% of all US licensed physicians. He then proceeded to educate me on "using random sampling" whereby I had to educate him on "sampling error" and the danger of extrapolating any meaningful data from such an infinitesimally small sample to such a large and heterogenous population.)

What are your thoughts?

dximgr Radiology
Posted Oct 25, 2009 at 4:18 PM
From the first lines of the Wikipedia article on the AMA: "The American Medical Association (AMA), founded in 1847 and incorporated 1897,[1] is the largest association of physicians and medical students in the United States. While its membership has declined in recent years, it claims approximately 20% of practicing physicians as members."The number of physicians in the US is guesstimated at 800K by several sources (but 1.5M by WHO). Assuming the smaller #, the AMA would have 160K members. Sermo advertises about 115K members. But the latter # is growing while the former # is shrinking.These are back-of-the-envelope calculations. Use them at your own risk.

lasermed1 OBGYN
Posted Oct 25, 2009 at 4:47 PM
The AMA does not represent me, nor many of the other physicians on Sermo. And I do not support the current version of "Universal Health Care".

Phillip Surgery, General
Posted Oct 25, 2009 at 5:39 PM
Asking whether physicians support universal health care is rather like asking all Americans, "Are you in favor of automobiles?" Well, . . . .sure. But what make of automobile? And what FORM of universal health care? There's the rub. Devil is in the details.

drjrvigil Surgery, General
Posted Oct 25, 2009 at 6:13 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Hell, if we can't come to a consensus on what "universal health care" is, imagine what the public is faced with when asked the same question. Unfortunately, they are played to by the pied piper Obama...

rarmstrong Surgery, General
Edited Oct 25, 2009 at 7:18 PM
drjrvigil, Even in the current debate about HR3200, the AMA came out in support of it within 48 hours. Now, they didn't run this by their house of delegates first and their was no poll of the AMA members. Word on the street is that someone in the corporate side of the AMA threw their support behind HR3200. There is a lot of history here on Sermo about this topic. For me, the AMA does NOT represent my views, and any claim that they represent American physicians is completely false. Does that help?

drjrvigil Surgery, General
Posted Oct 25, 2009 at 7:47 PM
rarmstrong, yes it does...thanks for all your comments. For anyone interested, I have posted a blog on this subject on my I would love any editorial, articles, or comments from all of you on this contentious subject

rarmstrong Surgery, General
Posted Oct 25, 2009 at 8:13 PM
So, if you are interested, those of us who went to Washington on October 1st to protest what is occurring, at the Million Med March were interviewed by Fox News. Part of those interviews will be on Sean Hannity's show at 9:00 pm EST tonight.

wbarrettmd Family Medicine
Posted Oct 25, 2009 at 8:47 PM
Do youthink your going to get a different response, from the other 62 times this ? has been asked over the last 2 weeks

docrww Rheumatology
Posted Oct 25, 2009 at 9:53 PM
JR, I believe that your classmate was probably citing a recent 'survey' published in mid-Sept in NEJM online, based on subjects in the AMA database of physicians (and it did break-out responses of AMA respondents.).The survey reported 'wide support' or overwhelming support' (depending on which politician was describing it) for "The Public Option" - but not "universal health care."The survey was discussed on Sermo. The 2 authors (who designed and executed the survey, and even described placing phone calls to subjects who didn't respond promptly - something smell funny about that?) belong to 'Physicians for America' - a group that was known as "Physicians for Obama" until May, and the first author, Dr. Salomeh Keyhani, now serves as Chairman of their Foundation ('foundation' - you know, the fund-raising arm) - potential conflicts of interest not disclosed to/by the NEJM or in any of the TNTC press releases. It's the sort of baloney that would have been shredded in our 1st-year medical school journal club exercises as hopelessly conflicted and methodologically corrupt - but of course the lay press and your MBA classmates don't understand the need to read things critically... But so goes health care reform.

drnopain Pain Medicine
Posted Oct 26, 2009 at 9:13 AM

docvicolo Surgery, General
Posted Oct 26, 2009 at 10:56 AM
Universal healthcare should not be synonymous with Free Universal health care but it seems this is what most people think it is............ On the contrary, I hope people will have affordable healthcare that is by all means NOT FREE. People do not appreciate what they perceive as free and tend to abuse the privilege.

wsugaimd Pediatrics
Posted Oct 26, 2009 at 11:14 AM
One thing universal health care will do is provide a massive shift of health care from the private sector to the public (your tax increase) sector. At present, your family plan costing $12,000/yr will rise to about $26,000 by 2019 because of the additional 40% tax. Most employers cannot afford this increase and will drop coverage forcing you into the publlic option. And this option will pay like medicare and medicaid. Remember the 21.5% pay cut coming up in medicare? This means most of us will not participate with the public plan and many will have insurance, none will have doctors. The common misunderstanding is between having insurance and having a doctor. It is not one of the same. Other stats...the government ALWAYS underestimates cost of programs. In 1965, actuaries estimated medicare costs for 1990 to be $10 billion....infact it was $107 billion. Now the program is spending more than its taking in. Washington has 2 options, ration medicare or raise taxes. Best place for data and statistics is and hit the health care in the search bar then hit ibdeditorials. Wealth of information to argue our side of health care.

wsugaimd Pediatrics
Posted Oct 26, 2009 at 11:17 AM
Most of us that sign pay checks on the front are horrified about the socialization of medicine. Those of us that sign paychecks in the back are often clueless.

wsugaimd Pediatrics
Posted Oct 26, 2009 at 11:21 AM
To: AMA Members An overwhelming majority of U.S. senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, are on record stating that the so-called Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) is flawed and should be replaced. S. 1776, the Medicare Physician Fair Payment Act, introduced last week by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., would have repealed the SGR, erasing the existing debt and freezing physician payments at current rates for 10 years. Yesterday's Senate vote (PDF) on S. 1776 was an opportunity for every senator to deliver on their pledge of support for repealing the SGR. Instead the Senate voted 53-47 to block consideration of S. 1776. The blame game being spun by some politicians over the outcome of that vote should be seen for what it is—pure political gamesmanship. Notwithstanding all of the hard work conducted by physicians who reached out to senators of both parties, this bill was blocked for these basic reasons: There is growing concern on the part of legislators and the public over expanding federal deficits. Therefore, a number of moderate Democrats and Republicans, although concerned about the SGR problem, simply would not vote for a bill they viewed as having negative deficit implications. The Senate Republican leadership cast this as a test vote on Democrats' health reform legislation. The problem is that another temporary fix of the SGR formula will merely exacerbate the very deficit problem that so concerns many senators. In 2005, the cost of repealing the SGR was $48 billion over ten years and physicians were facing cuts of 3.3 percent. Today, the price tag to permanently repeal the SGR is $245 billion and next year's scheduled cut is 21.5 percent.

wsugaimd Pediatrics
Posted Oct 26, 2009 at 11:21 AM
The AMA shares concerns about federal deficits but we believe the responsible thing to do is to finally stop the Ponzi-like scheme to manage the SGR. Instead, Congress must once-and-for-all fulfill its obligation to senior citizens and the physicians who treat them. They can do this by wiping the slate clean and adopting a realistic baseline not predicated on physician payment cuts of 40 percent over the next several years. This effort to permanently fix the SGR isn't over, but we should acknowledge a few positive developments associated with S.1776 including continuing strong support and leadership by Sen. Stabenow and active support from the AARP and the Military Officers Association of America. We also need to thank the 47 Democratic senators who voted for cloture. We need to take a moment to clear up erroneous trade press reports over an Oct. 13 meeting with Sens. Reid, Baucus and Dodd and senior White House staff. At that meeting, the AMA did not agree to support a Senate bill still being drafted. While expressing our ongoing commitment to achieving meaningful health system reform goals this year, we reiterated clearly the AMA's continuing concerns with a number of provisions of the Senate Finance Committee's recommendations. These concerns have yet to be fully addressed.

wsugaimd Pediatrics
Posted Oct 26, 2009 at 11:23 AM
In other words, the AMA tried to kiss Obama's arse. Instead, it got bullwhipped.

No comments:

Post a Comment