Ama Policy

Health System Reform Legislation H-165.838

Risk—Physicians Taking

1. Our American Medical Association is committed to working with Congress, the Administration, and other stakeholders to achieve enactment of health system reforms that include the following seven critical components of AMA policy:

a. Health insurance coverage for all Americans

b. Insurance market reforms that expand choice of affordable coverage and eliminate denials for pre-existing conditions or due to arbitrary caps

c. Assurance that health care decisions will remain in the hands of patients and their physicians, not insurance companies or government officials

d. Investments and incentives for quality improvement and prevention and wellness initiatives

e. Repeal of the Medicare physician payment formula that triggers steep cuts and threaten seniors’ access to care

f. Implementation of medical liability reforms to reduce the cost of defensive medicine

g. Streamline and standardize insurance claims processing requirements to eliminate unnecessary costs and administrative burdens

2. Our American Medical Association advocates that elimination of denials due to pre-existing conditions is understood to include rescission of insurance coverage for reasons not related to fraudulent representation.

3. Our American Medical Association House of Delegates supports AMA leadership in their unwavering and bold efforts to promote AMA policies for health system reform in the United States.

4. Our American Medical Association supports health system reform alternatives that are consistent with AMA policies concerning pluralism, freedom of choice, freedom of practice, and universal access for patients.

5. AMA policy is that insurance coverage options offered in a health insurance exchange be self-supporting, have uniform solvency requirements; not receive special advantages from government subsidies; include payment rates established through meaningful negotiations and contracts; not require provider participation; and not restrict enrollees’ access to out-of-network physicians.

6. Our AMA will actively and publicly support the inclusion in health system reform legislation the right of patients and physicians to privately contract, without penalty to patient or physician.

7. Our AMA will actively and publicly oppose the Independent Medicare Commission (or other similar construct), which would take Medicare payment policy out of the hands of Congress and place it under the control of a group of unelected individuals.

8. Our AMA will actively and publicly oppose, in accordance with AMA policy, inclusion of the following provisions in health system reform legislation:

a. Reduced payments to physicians for failing to report quality data when there is evidence that widespread operational problems still have not been corrected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

b. Medicare payment rate cuts mandated by a commission that would create a double-jeopardy situation for physicians who are already subject to an expenditure target and potential payment reductions under the Medicare physician payment system

c. Medicare payments cuts for higher utilization with no operational mechanism to assure that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services can report accurate information that is properly attributed and risk-adjusted

d. Redistributed Medicare payments among providers based on outcomes, quality, and risk-adjustment measurements that are not scientifically valid, verifiable and accurate

e. Medicare payment cuts for all physician services to partially offset bonuses from one specialty to another

f. Arbitrary restrictions on physicians who refer Medicare patients to high quality facilities in which they have an ownership interest

9. Our AMA will continue to actively engage grassroots physicians and physicians in training in collaboration with the state medical and national specialty societies to contact their Members of Congress, and that the grassroots message communicate our AMA’s position based on AMA policy.

10. Our AMA will use the most effective media event or campaign to outline what physicians and patients need from health system reform.

11. AMA policy is that national health system reform must include replacing the sustainable growth rate (SGR) with a Medicare physician payment system that automatically keeps pace with the cost of running a practice and is backed by a fair, stable funding formula, and that the AMA initiate a “call to action” with the Federation to advance this goal.

12. AMA policy is that creation of a new single payer, government-run health care system is not in the best interest of the country and must not be part of national health system reform.

13. AMA policy is that effective medical liability reform that will significantly lower health care costs by reducing defensive medicine and eliminating unnecessary litigation from the system should be part of any national health system reform.

Policy Timeline

Sub. Res. 203, I-09Reaffirmation A-10Reaffirmed in lieu of Res. 102, A-10Reaffirmed in lieu of Res. 228, A-10Reaffirmed: CMS Rep. 2, I-10Reaffirmed: Sub. Res. 222, I-10Reaffirmed: CMS Rep. 9, A-11Reaffirmation A-11Reaffirmed: CMS Rep. 6, I-11Reaffirmed in lieu of Res. 817, I-11Reaffirmation I-11Reaffirmation A-12Reaffirmed in lieu of Res. 108, A-12Reaffirmed: Res. 239, A-12Reaffirmed: Sub. Res. 813, I-13Reaffirmed: CMS Rep. 9, A-14Reaffirmation A-15Reaffirmed in lieu of Res. 215, A-15Reaffirmation: A-17Reaffirmed in lieu of: Res. 712, A-17Reaffirmed in lieu of: Res. 805, I-17Reaffirmed: CMS Rep. 03, A-18Reaffirmed: CMS Rep. 09, A-19Reaffirmed: CMS Rep. 3, I-21Reaffirmation: A-22