AMA Mounts Campaign to Raise Medicare Payments

Seeing Jack Lewin, Chief of American College of Cardiology, on ED Show, was another reminder of the insidious ways the Health Care Lobby is putting their interests first, ahead of the patients. Each member of the food chain wants to gouge as much as they possibly can. AMA is one of the most insidious of these lobbies, with an inglorius history of killing reform.

Ed aksed him if the Medicare Payments in Rural Area were a problem, and if so how can that be remedied. Of course, it was like asking the fox what is the best way to take care of the hen house. And like a good fox he ignored the rural part and launched into the “Medicare payments are too low in general” canard.

The campaign recently launched by AMA puts the nefariousness of Lewin’s comments in sharp relief. In this Campaign AMA is asking the patients (those who like me are members of the AMA Patient Action Network, a front organization) to call upon their Members of Congress and urge them to raise the Medicare Payment Schedules (NO RURAL BIZ HERE, ED). It was jarring and scary to think that AMA would want to divert attention from the various Public Option / Single Payer campaigns.

I hope the media illuminati look at this situation carefully. I hope we are in no mood to get bamboozled again.

AMA’s solicitation and my reply are both enclosed below.

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Arvind Agrawal <doubleaseven@yahoo.com>
To: AMA Patients’ Action Network <reply@patientsactionnetwork.com>
Cc: Ed Schultz <ed@edschultzshow.com>; Rachel Maddows <rachel@msnbc.com>; Jane Hamsher <firedoglake@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 3:16:26 PM
Subject: Re: Here we go!

I will be happy to share, in depth, my views on this serious matter, if I get a reply to this message. I will listen to what your select few on the video have to say. It would be nice if you advised all of your members to watch the video of Dr. Hochfeld (just Google it) before shooting their own.

But it is all meaningless without a real dialog, only possible if you want to truly listen and not use the PAN as a lip service. You have gladly published the phone numbers of the Senators not for patient welfare but to serve your narrow interests. Please provide some call in numbers,live chat, and email addresses with some real patient feedback processors behind them.

You want the patients to call and plead with their Senators to raise Medicare Payment Schedules, i.e. first worry about filling the AMA pockets before worrying about the Health Care Reform with a Robust Public Option for them or the 45000 dying every year and many times more who are going bankrupt. Do AMA members really believe that low Insurance payments are the #1 hurdle, preventing them from providing proper care to the afflicted?

I believe that Medicine is a noble profession and AMA should be honest and not use patient’s interests as an excuse to further extort the people at the bottom of the pile. Not worthy to hit the people, whose interest you profess to have in your heart, in the gut with a iron fist covered in a velvet glove.

There is nothing archaic about Medicare Payment Schedules. What is archaic is thegreed of some who believe that they are anointed by higher powers to make more and more, or same as before, even when the people (read patients) and economy are in the toilet.

If the Health Care Providers (Doctors, Hospitals, Pharma, Equipment Builders) do not understand the meaning of shared sacrifice and rising with the tide (as the tide builds up), if there is not the downshift on day one of HCR, we shall be doomed to a sinking economy forever. Of course the free agents who feel they can make lot more money without participating in the system, they can do so as free agents do, i.e. not accept Insurance Payments. And if the new system is so good that no body will pay their ransom, they should seek their fortunes in other countries – may be a rising economy like China.

If we are serious about giving an honorable purpose to all the holy water AMA has been sprinkling, it has to be serious about communicating with other physician groups. I have had the privilege to meet a few, who unlike AMA are interested in the health of their patients instead of the size of their wallets.

Come on folks, let us get serious. Hoping to get some pointers for a meaningful interchange.


From: AMA Patients’ Action Network <reply_patients_action_network@amapan.graction.com>
To: doubleaseven@yahoo.com
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 9:33:48 AM
Subject: Here we go!

Dear Arvind:

Congress is closer than ever to passing a health system reform bill, and we can’t lose this opportunity for real health reform. However, members of the AMA’s Patients’ Action Network and doctors from around the country–in states like Florida, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas and Missouri–are all concerned about how this legislation will affect your access to your doctor.

In the U.S. Senate, the health reform bill that’s been proposed would use Medicare as a foundation–and that foundation is crumbling because of an archaic payment system already in place. This system is scheduled to cut Medicare physician payments by more than 20 percent Jan. 1, 2010, with repeated annual cuts coming after that.

These annual cuts are a huge problem for patients–and for many families–because they will prevent doctors from taking on new Medicare patients, discourage many from investing in new health technology and make some think about closing their medical practices altogether.

Right now, the Senate is promoting another one-year Band-Aid for this problem, which means that we’ll be dealing with an even bigger problem next year.

Watch doctors from around the country discuss the reality of what this means for you and your family, then call Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) at (888) 434-6200 or e-mail them here.

Please don’t put this off. Your senators need to hear from you now, to protect your family’s access to health care today and in the future. Tell your senators that the short-term, Band-Aid approaches used in the past will no longer do. Real health system reform must include Medicare reform.

© AMA, Patient’s Action Network | All Rights Reserved


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