AMA President says 2017 should be 'wake-up call' over need for physician advocacy

As congressional Republicans continue to drive efforts toward repealing and replacing the ACA, physician members of the American Medical Association must "step up" for their vision on health reform, AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, MD, said at the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting.

"For our colleagues out there who had not yet realized the importance of advocacy, well, I hope 2017 has been their wake-up call," Dr. Gurman said, according to the AMA Wire.

"Each of us has a crucial role to play in creating a healthcare system that better delivers for our patients. A system that is accessible and affordable. One that is flexible around their needs. One that is transparent about cost and exists as part of a larger social safety net to keep us living longer, healthier and more active lives," he said. "Do our patients deserve any less? Of course not! They need as many allies as they can get. They need all of us speaking out on their behalf."

Although he said the ACA is "far from perfect and should be improved to stabilize the marketplace and make meaningful health insurance more affordable," the coverage gains it has helped achieve should be maintained, he said. On the other hand, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the American Health Care Act, if enacted in the form that the House approved, would result in 23 million fewer insured by 2026.

The AMA has advocated for a variety of healthcare and public safety causes under Dr. Gurman's direction. Following the shooting last June at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, in which a man used a semiautomatic rifle and handgun to kill 49 people and injure 58 others, the AMA House of Delegates bolstered its policy to call for a background check and waiting period for all purchases of firearms. It also declared gun violence a "public health crisis."

Additionally, the AMA has spoken out against anticompetitive mergers between major health insurance carriers, insurers' prior-authorization requirements and immigration policy.

Read about the AMA's stance on these issues on AMA Wire.

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