Ever since its cries of “socialized medicine” killed Harry Truman’s attempt to reform health care 60 years ago, the AMA has been not only a vociferous enemy of reform, but a deep-pocketed one—only the Chamber of Commerce has spent more on lobbying over the past decade. But this time the AMA's throwing that financial might behind President Obama’s effort, thanks in part to an eye-popping handout.
Democrats decided to rescind scheduled Medicare cuts in the bill, to the tune of $228 billion over the next decade. Democrats defend that as necessary for the stability of the medical system, but it stands as the most expensive concession any interest group has received. Doctors, too, stand to benefit as more patients gain health care access. “Doctors are really, really discouraged now about people not getting access to medical care,” says the group’s former president.