- The Washington Times - Monday, November 16, 2009

During the past two years, The Washington Times has referred to the American Medical Association as “a powerful doctor’s lobby” and “the nation’s top doctor’s lobby.” But when the AMA takes a direction The Times doesn’t like, the tune changes (“A proud legacy trashed,” Editorial, Thursday).

The AMA’s strength comes from the fact that it is not a partisan organization. It is the nation’s largest physicians organization, and its policies represent all physicians through the AMA’s House of Delegates - the nation’s broadest, most inclusive assembly of physicians and medical students. Delegates representing every state and medical specialty debate and vote on AMA policies on behalf of their physician peers.

We continue to be engaged in the health reform debate to ensure that final legislation allows physicians to continue providing high-quality care to their patients. H.R. 3962 is not perfect, but it will help make some needed changes to our system for patients and physicians. It will expand access to health insurance coverage; institute meaningful insurance market reforms, such as ending denials based on pre-existing conditions; and reduce costly administrative burdens that frustrate patients and physicians.

We also strongly advocate for the passage of H.R. 3961 to permanently repeal the broken Medicare physician-payment formula. We have made it clear that repeal of the payment formula is an essential component of health system reform and would preserve access to care for seniors, baby boomers and military families.

Our health care system can work better for patients and physicians. Ronald Reagan himself put it best when he said, “Status quo is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in.’ ” The AMA is committed to being part of the clean-up crew.

DR. J. JAMES ROHACK

President

American Medical Association

Chicago