Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Individual Mandate & AMA

The American Medical Association announced yesterday that it was supporting the ‘Individual Mandate” in Obamacare.

This is puzzling, because the AMA has always defended personal liberty, freedom and the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship.

If one thing offends most healthcare providers it is this mandate, since it smacks of being unconstitutional and loss of a significant freedom. It surpasses even the internal revenue service’s income tax and the manner in which it is collected.

While the mandate is being strongly opposed by at least 30 states and awaits judicial reckoning it is even more puzzling why the AMA would come out prior to any judicial decision.  Perhaps the AMA announcement is meant to sway public opinion and judicial outcomes. Perhaps this is the means for the AMA to become a public policy force. However IMHO this is misguided and will surely alienate more physicians.

This author is not against expanding healthcare to those who cannot obtain it for whatever reasons, however this mandate surpasses what government is supposed to do.  It is also a financial irresponsibility to enact this part of Obamacare at a time when we are in a severe prolonged recession, and will paradoxically increase health costs and utilization at a time when the number of primary care providers is inadequate.

A novice project manager can tell you that prior to ramping up production a system has to have adequate workforce, supplies, and capital..  Our elected officials have little knowledge of micro-economics, repeatedly displayed in stimulus funding and healthcare.

Obamacare is constructed in a world of fantasy,  wishful thinking, altruism, and thoughtless construct. The reality is millions of uninsured patients. A quick solution is going to disrupt things even further.

Well meaning change should be gradual, and without sweeping authority given to the head of HHS.

Part II tomorrow on Health Train Express.

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