The President of the AMA, J. James Rohack has another piece posted up on the increasingly disconnected and corporatized Kevin MD. In this piece, the eminent Dr. Rohack basically pleads for average Americans to call their senators and congressmen about the need to enact permananet repeal of the anticipated 21% Medicare reimbursement slash this year. It's truly an embarassing piece; a faintly concealed public admission of his own organization's failure to adequately represent and advocate for the needs and desires of physicians in the health care reform dialogue.
Let's take a minute to browse through his various posting on KevinMD over the past year shall we?
July 16th, 2008 (Shortly after the AMA officially endorsed HR 3200:
Permanent Medicare physician payment reform must be part of comprehensive health reform this year. Medicare payments should cover the increasing cost of providing care so that seniors can be assured of continued access to physician care.
August 13th, 2008:
The AMA is committed to keeping medical decisions in the hands of patients and their physicians and preserving that sacred relationship. Insurance needs to be affordable and available to all patients though a choice of plans regardless of job or health status. The flawed Medicare payment formula must be fixed. Medical liability reforms must be adopted. We need a system that promotes quality, incentivizes care coordination and emphasizes prevention and wellness initiatives.
Reform of the broken Medicare physician payment formula is necessary to assure access to care for seniors. Without congressional action, Medicare cuts will total about 40 percent over the next five years. The gap between payments and costs will make it very difficult for physicians to keep their doors open to all Medicare patients and make quality improvement to their practices that benefit all patients
October 8th, 2008:
All eyes are on the Senate Finance Committee this week as they prepare to vote to move health reform legislation forward. The AMA is committed to health reform, and as the process moves to the Senate floor, it’s crucial that the Senate include permanent repeal of the current Medicare physician payment formula in its health reform legislation.
Democrats and Republicans have publicly stated that the flawed formula should be scrapped. Chairman Baucus and others have expressed support for a long-term solution. It’s clear to physicians and patients that the time for band-aid fixes is over. Short-term fixes have temporarily averted an access crisis, but it has also led to next year’s projection of a 21 percent cut, with more in years to come.
November 13th, 2008:
This week, our attention turns to passage of H.R. 3961, which repeals the broken Medicare physician payment formula and provides payments to better reflect the cost of providing medical care. The time for band-aid fixes to a long-term problem is over. Congress created the “sustainable growth rate” (SGR) formula that sets Medicare payment rates, and it’s up to them to do-away with the formula that projects a 21 percent payment cut next year and more in years to come. At stake is physicians’ ability to continue to provide high-quality care to seniors, the disabled, military families and the baby boomers who reach age 65 in two years.
These cuts are across the board to all physicians caring for Medicare and TRICARE patients. Active engagement is crucial at this time, and physicians need to call their members of Congress and let them know that Medicare’s physician foundation must be secure and stable for comprehensive health reform to succeed.
Notice how in early 2008, Rohack assured everyone that the AMA would not back down from demands to abolish the Medicare cuts. In November, physicians were encouraged to make phone calls to Capitol Hill. Now, the responsibility has been kicked further downhill to American citizens in general. Just laughable.
From the very beginning, the AMA has proclaimed its dedication to addressing the SRG payment slashes and tort reform. Exploiting the high page view lectern of Kevin MD, Dr Rohack has continuously banged his little drum about how hard he's working and the "victories" the AMA has achieved for physicians. But such self-congratulatory rhetoric is completely disconnected from the reality of actual events. There are no victories. He hasn't achieved any of his objectives. The AMA has failed miserably on all counts. It has turned itself into a pathetic, insular, completely impotent organization that, given its historical legacy and universal "name recognition", functions as a mere prop for for any reform bill that does come out of Congress (i.e. Endorsed by the AMA!!!).
Clarification: The above picture is of the vile, hateful JJ Reddick, not JJ Rohack. ;)