June 22, 2011 by Tony Novak
The American Medical Association reaffirmed its support for the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires every American to buy insurance. The measure is opposed by 26 states that have brought legal action against the federal government. The AMA released this statement today:
The American Medical Association (AMA) voted today at its annual meeting to continue its policy supporting individual responsibility for health insurance with assistance for those who cannot afford it.
"The AMA has strong policy in support of covering the uninsured, and we have renewed our commitment to achieving this through individual responsibility for health insurance with assistance for those who need it," said AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, M.D. "The AMA’s policy supporting individual responsibility has bipartisan roots, helps Americans get the care they need when they need it and ends cost shifting from those who are uninsured to those who are insured. Important insurance market reforms, such as an end to coverage denials based on pre-existing conditions, are only possible by having broad participation in the health insurance market."
The AMA reviewed alternatives and concluded that any approach to covering the uninsured that is in line with AMA policy cannot be fully successful in covering the uninsured without individual responsibility for health insurance.
The policy was reaffirmed by the AMA House of Delegates (HOD), which includes physicians representing all state and medical specialty societies. The HOD also reaffirmed support for AMA policy supporting health insurance tax credits and health insurance market regulation, health savings accounts, and direct subsidies for the coverage of high risk patients.
The AMA position is certainly reasonable in light of its interests in ensuring that every patient has a source of revenue for the medical service providers. Yet many Americans do not believe that they should be required to buy health insurance and therefore oppose the new law. The U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the 2010 health care reform law and the U.S. Senate may reconsider repeal this year. If still unresolved, the issue will likely be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012.
Freedom Benefits opposes the measure but believes that the law will ultimately be upheld and become effective in 2014.