Without a doubt, the health care reform discussion in Washington is the most pressing public policy debate medicine has seen in the last 15 years. The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) is following the debate on Capitol Hill closely and is in continuous contact with the NC Congressional leadership in Washington to ensure physician input is considered in this historic effort.
This summer, the American Medical Association (AMA) supported H.R. 3200, which drew a heated and controversial reaction from physician members nationwide. At the AMA’s Interim Meeting this week in Houston, the membership reaffirmed the AMA’s demand for health system reforms, placing emphasis on the AMA’s advancing existing policy in any proposed legislation.
AMA members also voted to actively and publicly oppose the proposed independent Medicare Commission, which would take Medicare payments out of the control of Congress. In addition, the AMA meeting went on record as opposing any move to shift any payment cuts from one specialty to another and issued a “Call to Action” to fix the SGR and to deal with Medical Liability Reform.
The NCMS remains devoted to the best interests of physicians and their patients. Our goal is to protect the physician-patient relationship. We continue to communicate the NCMS Guiding Principles on Health System Reform to our Congressional delegation as a guidepost for reform. Real grassroots action can make a difference and the NCMS remains engaged on behalf of our members.
As Americans, we are at a critical point in the legislative process. We are monitoring the actions of the U.S. Senate after the passage of H.R. 3961 by the House of Representatives. Therefore, this is the time for us as health care leaders to remain in this legislative process. Our challenge is to address the concerns we have with H.R. 3961 and to help our patients understand its consequences.
We will share information with you and continue to ask for your help. Please be sure to track the issue on our Web site, www.ncmedsoc.org. We can help you contact your representatives and through the Web site, give you the latest information as we receive it. Thank you for all you do for your patients and profession. Again, I urge you to visit the NCMS website to take action on behalf of your patients and your profession.
Douglas D. Sheets, MD, NCMS President