Thursday, February 02, 2012

The AMA, Medicare and Monopolies

The Washington Times has an informative article on the AMA's gradual selling out to its government masters. Here's an excerpt, but it's worth reading the whole thing:
You see, the once-proud AMA of the 1960s, the organization that fought a battle against Medicare in its current form, the one whose president, Dr. Edward Annis, famously predicted the problems we face today, sold its soul to the government in 1983.

Dr. Annis spoke to an empty Madison Square Garden in May 1962 because the media would not televise his direct response to President Kennedy’s speech pushing for the creation of Medicare, then called the King-Anderson Bill.

Dr. Annis predicted the top-down government controls; the rules and regulations; the giant bureaucracy, and even the fiscal insolvency that looms large today. But the train left the station in 1965 with the passage of Medicare, and in 1983, the AMA jumped on board - for money and the promise of control.

The government was looking for a way to standardize medical billing for Medicare, and the AMA had just the thing. We call it Current Procedural Terminology. The AMA owns it, and the organization signed an exclusive agreement with the government in 1983 that made it the coding system for all Medicare billing.

Gradually, the terminology became the standard for all medical billing - private insurance and government plans. The AMA has a government-granted monopoly, and it enjoys a lucrative stream of income as a result.


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