Jun 22, 2011

Dr. Malone on the AMA Debate on Mandate for Insurance

(CHICAGO) -- Immediately after the American Medical Association House of Delegates voted on Monday to keep the AMA’s support for a mandate that nearly all Americans be required to have or buy health insurance, TMA arranged an interview with national CBS Radio for TMA President Bruce Malone, MD. The discussion ranged from the issue itself, to the tenor of the often-heated debate, to the impact the vote will have on AMA membership.
Below are some excerpts of Dr. Malone’s comments.
“The AMA house has struggled with the question of how do you provide insurance for more of our citizens without violating individual rights? The mandate to buy health insurance is offensive to some, but insurance pools do not work economically without broad participation. So Texas physicians wanted to leave these rules to the states instead of having it determined by the federal government. But many physicians in this country and as you can tell the 60% of the House of Delegates to the AMA feel that the only way access to insurance can be achieved is by mandating large pools that can have the advantage of the popular things of guarantee issue and no maximum limits.”

The debate “was very emotional and it was very heated. As you can tell by the vote there are large numbers on both sides. I can tell you that in the reference committee yesterday this one issue was debated for three hours. It’s something of terrific interest to people and they feel strongly about it one way or the other.”

“I was personally disappointed that it didn’t go along with the policy of our state medical association. But I understand the points on both sides.”

“Some people who strongly support the idea of no mandate may drop their membership with the AMA. It’s a chance you have to take when you’re a democratic membership organization. What I hope is the members who disagree with the policy will stay in the AMA and work hard to change it to what they think is better. What we will see of course in the next two years is health system reform is going to evolve and we will see things that work and don’t work so we’re going to have to make some changes and hopefully we can all work together to make the changes for the better. “

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