Florida doctors to consider splitting ties with AMA over healthcare reform

The House of Delegates of the Florida Medical Association is scheduled to consider a resolution severing ties with the American Medical Association because of its support for the healthcare reform law.

The Florida group will consider the move at its annual meeting next month

The scathing resolution takes the AMA to task for having “failed to achieve one single concession” in the healthcare reform bill. It calls the organization’s efforts to repeal the Medicare payment formula for physicians a “fiasco” and accuses the AMA of “failing to lead and represent America’s physicians and the American People on the signature medical legislative issue of this century.”

The resolution bears the name of Dr. Douglas Stevens, a past president of the Lee County Medical Society. Stevens did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

It’s not clear how much support the resolution will have.

The Florida Medical Association supports Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum’s lawsuit questioning the healthcare reform law’s constitutionality. But the group declined to comment on the resolution until it’s debated by its House of Delegates.

The traditionally conservative AMA ruffled feathers on the right when it endorsed the Democrats’ healthcare reform bill. The organization at the time offered a tepid statement of support: “While the final product is certainly not what we would have devised, we strongly support the parts of this bill that are desperately needed by millions of Americans who are struggling to get or keep health insurance coverage,” then-President James Rohack said prior to the bill’s passage in March.

The endorsement was accompanied by a vow to keep fighting for the repeal this year of the Medicare payment formula known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). But the chances of that happening are fading fast because of the gargantuan price tag — more than $200 billion.

The Florida Medical Association’s annual meeting is scheduled for Aug. 13-15 in Orlando. It promises to be especially heated since the AMA’s new president, Cecil Wilson, has been invited to participate because he’s a past president of the Florida Medical Association.