Docs' Group Opposes Public Health Insurance
Powerful AMA pushes against Obama, Dem proposals
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2009 6:54 AM CDT
Sens. Max Baucus and Charles Grassley talk with reporters after a closed-door committee meeting on an overhaul of the health care system, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 20, 2009.    (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – Just as Republicans and Democrats head for a showdown on health care reform, the American Medical Association is telling Congress that it will oppose a government-sponsored insurance plan—a key, if the most controversial, piece of plans put forward by Dems with support from the White House. The AMA wants health care "provided by private markets, as they are currently." As the New York Times reports, the opposition of the powerful physicians' organization presents reform advocates with a major hurdle.

Obama campaigned on a "public health insurance option" alongside private care, and yesterday Nancy Pelosi reiterated that "a bill will not come out of the House without a public option." But the AMA thinks a public choice will drive private insurers out of the market, leading to an explosion in public costs. The group needs to tread carefully, however; if they push too hard, they might alienate Democrats who are currently supporting their goal of increasing Medicare fees.