Madam Chair, We Propose that ‘Happy Hour’ begin 30 minutes Earlier Today by Pat Conrad MD

Over the years I’ve spilled more than a little electronic ink describing how the AMA is an unofficial extension of the federal government that furthers and encourages CMS’ whims and abuses.  But to give the AMA its due, it has successfully adopted the rhythms and reflexes of its benefactor.  Rather than tackling the really tough problems, the federal government wants to go after peripheral issues that are none if its business, that it has no chance of solving.

Likewise, the AMA – long a recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars in ICD/CPT extortion – just can’t find time during its annual self-congratulation pageants to deal with actual problems that face actual doctors.  Where is the call from these sell-outs to reverse mandatory EHR’s?  Where is the principled leadership to phase out Medicare, or to move for a reversal of the federal crony corporatism with Big Insurance, or reinforce practice restrictions against non-physicians?  We here have already covered the giant pass these functionaries (again) gave the ABIM and its MOC shakedown racket.

No, unable to tackle any issue that actually affects real physicians, the brave and oh so relevant AMA again comes out in strongly worded terms against … guns.

At the 2018 AMA Annual Meeting, delegates adopted policies that inserted themselves into domestic relationships, favored no-evidence suspension of civil rights, called for further infringements on states’ rights, recognized the role of firearms in suicides (that actually made me laugh), reaffirmed schools as “gun-free zones”, opposed teachers carrying guns, and called to eliminate certain classes of firearms and ammunition.

The point of this column is not to argue the gun issue.  If you are pro-Second Amendment, go turn on Fox; if you are anti-gun ownership, go watch CNN.  I don’t care.

What I care about here is that a thoroughly deceitful organization, representing less than a quarter of U.S. physicians, is trying to make PR hay – whose members always hope will translate into more money and power– by getting into areas which are none of its business.  What is the AMA position on global warming, or North Korea?  Does the AMA favor the latest interest rate increase by the Fed?  Will the AMA oppose paying for medical insurance with BitCoin, since it represents financial prejudice against developing world economies?  Where does the AMA come down on so-called transgender bathrooms?  The AMA knows very well that its blather will not take one gun out of the wrong hands, and will not prevent a single gun-related death.  Those are law enforcement concerns.

The delegates of the vaunted “House of Medicine” won’t take on the tough issues like CMS punishing mis-coding doctors out of existence, or hospitals not being paid for readmissions of chronically ill, elderly patients because of arbitrary violations of unproven “quality” standards.  The AMA will not call for the repeal of the ACA that jacked up premiums for the majority of productive citizens while providing a financial windfall for Blue Cross, Aetna, et al.  No, the delegates will pose for photos, congratulate themselves on “making a difference,” perform cocktail colonoscopies on each other, and otherwise not accomplish a damn thing.


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