Monday, June 15, 2009
Obama To AMA: "America May Go The Way Of GM"
Sound bite of the day: "If we do not fix our health care system, America may go the way of GM." That was what President Obama said earlier today in a speech to the American Medical Association. He insisted that his plan for overhauling the nation's health care system would be good for them. Obama promised doctors that "we can build a health care system that allows you to be physicians instead of administrators and accountants." Obama said that limits on medical malpractice lawsuits could be necessary. He cited the need for doctors to cut costs by reducing the number of unnecessary procedures and tests that are performed in an effort to reduce the risk of malpractice claims. Under his cost-cutting plan, Obama said that restrictions on malpractice liability to protect doctors may be needed. Although he said he's not advocating putting caps on malpractice awards, Obama said "we need to explore a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first, and how to let doctors focus on practicing medicine." He said that doctors should be able to put their efforts into curing patients as apposed to worrying about a bureaucratic system that bases pay on the amount of tests and services. The AMA agrees with the Obama Administration that health care reforms are needed, but does not support the creation of a "public option" paid for by the government to ensure coverage for the 46 million Americans who are currently uninsured. Everyone agrees, however, that health care costs in this country have spiraled out of control. America spends 50% more per person than the next expensive nation, Switzerland, and our average lifespan is three years lower. "The costs are crushing us...We can't continue on this pathway," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Nation". She said that Obama is open to whatever ideas will work. Obama has kept his campaign promises to make health care reform a top priority of his administration. He has emphasized that health care is a major cause of our economic troubles. Obama said that rising health care costs could force America to follow in the footsteps of bankrupt automaker GM. If we follow that path, he said, we'll be "paying more, getting less and going broke". Obama also told the AMA: "Make no mistake, the cost of our health care is a threat to our economy. It is an escalating burden on our families and businesses. It is a ticking time-bomb for the federal budget, and it is unsustainable for the United States of America." It's a ticking time-bomb for the average American, which is the category that I fall into. In all probability, America won't go the way of GM. As far as health care reform, Obama's on the right track. He's the right man for the job. That's why I voted for him.