What is the American Medical Association for? The group claims, in public-relations-ese, that its function is “to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.”
But ask a doctor. You are apt to get a very different diagnosis.
The September 2011 survey of “Physicians Opinions About the American Medical Association,” published by Jackson & Coker, a physician recruitment firm, makes that very clear. Here are a few highlights:
- “The AMA’s Stance and Actions Represent My Views”: 77 percent of doctors disagree.
- “I agree with the AMA’s Position on Health Reform”: 70 percent disagree.
- . . . effectively supports “physician practice autonomy”: 69 percent disagree.
- . . . effectively insulates “physicians from intrusive government regulations”: 78 percent disagree.
- . . . “protects physicians from insurance company abuses”: 75 percent disagree.
Those percentages include non-member and non-practicing doctors. Understandably, members of the AMA are more positive than non-members. But even among member doctors, a majority disapproves of the AMA’s insurance protection (the last bullet point, above).
The AMA carries a lot of weight in public policy debate. Unfortunately, its history of lobbying government has been very . . . “progressive,” paternalistic, and heavy-handed.
For example, before the AMA dominated American national medical policy, doctors routinely engaged in extensive pro bono work for the poor. The AMA worked mightily to stop that.
The result of this prescription? Medicare, Medicaid . . . and an insolvent entitlement system.
Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.