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A letter to the AMA from Pete Marzek, MD


Dear Dr. Rohack,
     I read with stifled amazement the recent notice that the AMA is supporting the current Health Care Reform Bill, which 70% of Americans....and most physicians I know......abhor!  I had to chuckle when I read about the AMA's "accomplishments" as to the original 8 tenets of any proposed legislation in Healthcare Reform, for you make it sound like we accomplished much as physicians, whereas I feel we accomplished very little.
     The #1 priority as of last August was repealing the SGR and getting meaningful physician payments for Medicare.  Strike such accomplishment to date, and the recent postponements by Congress show more of the same.
     The AMA supported health insurance coverage for all Americans.  Putting 20 million people on Medicaid when few doctors accept this program is NOT accomplishing this goal!  Strike 2.
     You assured us that you were fighting for health care decisions that would remain between a physician and his/her patient.  Now we have a proposed Independent Payment Advisory Board which matter what politicians say....going to have the power to do whatever they want, and we'll have no recourse to Congress as it will be out of Congress's hands.  Strike three.
     I could go on and on about the terrible things incorporated in this Healthcare Reform package but, as I already mentioned, we've had three strikes.  We're out.  Instead of getting up to bat with all the power and muscle that organized medicine SHOULD have had, the AMA has squandered an opportunity to make meaningful reforms and is now....still....saying that we're "going to continue to try to make changes in this imperfect Bill".  When the House votes tomorrow, if this HORRIFIC Bill passes, the game's over.  Walk off to the locker room for there really isn't going to be a game left to play.  The AMA did not do a good job reflecting what the values of physicians are, and if you truly think this Healthcare Reform is positive for American Medicine, you are out of touch with the masses. 
     For the first time in 20-some years, you will not be receiving my renewal to the AMA.  I truly wish you had handled this whole Healthcare Reform fiasco differently.  My dues will instead go to my local and state medical associations, who seem to be much more in touch with the realities facing physicians.
                                                                        Peter A. Marzek MD
                                                                         Tavares, FL

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