The American Medical Association, the nation’s largest doctors group, narrowly voted to maintain its long-standing opposition to “Medicare for all” and other proposals for single-payer medicine.
This is a good thing. “Medicare for all” would require us to double our annual tax burden, leaving a void of nearly $ 140 billion from our current profit-based system that funds 44% of the world’s medical research and development. It would eliminate private health insurance, obliterate reimbursement rates to physicians, and deplete the majority of the world’s pharmaceutical profits, presumably halting further drug development.
But the AMA made this bed, and it just endorsed a policy to go die in it.
Back in 2009, the AMA became a vital backer of the Affordable Care Act, provoking outrage among its member physicians. The AMA foolishly failed to reverse Medicare reimbursement cuts, and conservatives within the AMA tried to stage their own Tea Party-style revolt. But the AMA remained steadfast.
No one in the country could possibly think that our healthcare system is working well. But Democrats have set up a straw-man stand-in for the healthcare debate, claiming that we have a binary choice between our current broken system and “Medicare for All.” Rather than proposing plans that would increase the healthcare industry’s responsiveness to demand — for example, expanding HSAs and direct primary care models — the AMA chose to endorse yet another step to single-payer healthcare, expanding Obamacare, and exploring a public option.
In theory, the public option is a pro-market tool. As a price setter, the government could use the public option to encourage market competitors to reduce their rates. However, the government has no need to make money, and so it can always resort to predatory pricing. Backed by taxpayers, government can undercut its competitors to the point that they intentionally bankrupt them, so it can then jack up prices again once monopoly status is achieved.
Our doctors deserve better than the AMA kowtowing to socialists who would happily to turn them into servants of the state. The only way for doctors to get the pay that matches market demand for their work is to reduce regulations and create an economic space for doctors and patients to bypass our government-created health insurance cartel.