AMA Affirms Support for Individual Mandate

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , June 21, 2011

After two days of debate, the American Medical Association's House of Delegates Monday voted by two-thirds (326-165) to renew its support for the individual mandate, the embattled portion of the Affordable Care Act that requires people who can afford health coverage to purchase it.

"This is a contentious issue for this country," AMA president Cecil Wilson, MD, acknowledged at a news briefing after the vote, which took place at the AMA's annual meeting in Chicago. "It would be most surprising if we would not feel some of that challenge in terms of making decisions."

At the end of the debate, however, Wilson said an "overwhelming" majority of physician delegates voted to continue the stand the association took on the general issue in 2006. The issue was raised by some delegates in part because the constitutionality of that portion of healthcare reform legislation is being challenged in several courts in a number of states.

"Our concern is that if we are not able to have a requirement that people have an individual responsibility to purchase insurance, we're not aware of another solution, except something that would say that the government would make a requirement and tax the individuals for that," Wilson said at a news briefing announcing the delegates' vote.

"From our perspective, the concern would be raised that would take us down a path toward a government run system."

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5 comments on "AMA Affirms Support for Individual Mandate"

Douglas Malie (6/21/2011 at 2:23 PM)
I applaud the AMA for being pragmatic instead of political. Anyone who understands risk, probabilities and statistics understands why the individual mandate is absolutely necessary unless this country would prefer socialized medicine. As a practice administrator for large single specialty practices I have had to write off hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in uncompensated care because of bad debt associated with uninsured patients. Sometimes its unfortunate that government intervention is necessary when we can't depend on people to do the right thing.

sharbaugh (6/21/2011 at 10:56 AM)
This is no suprise to anyone. The AMA is nothing more than another hack organization just like the AFL-CIO, UAW, etc. that just looks out for their own interests and nothing else. Hey AMA: does it not concern you one bit that the individual mandate runs completely counter to the Bill of Rights, or is that a non-issue to you????

Patrick Plemmons (6/21/2011 at 10:48 AM)
Dr. Wilson demonstrates conclusively that you don't have to be intelligent to be a physician. He supports the federal government ordering private citizens to buy a product because, if he doesn't, he worries it could lead to a government run healthcare system. What? What does he think Obamacare is if not the first giant step to a government run health plan? What a sad day for physicians in America.




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