Physicians

PHYSICIANS: Better up your political contributions, AMA

California Healthline points to this Chicago Tribune story about physicians and collective bargaining. It’s again based on the report the DOJ put out last week–the same one that was so glowingly endorsed by the PBMs. Andy Ribner pointed out, this is pretty unfair as hospitals have been allowed to merge and "systematize" with little intervention from DOJ to bargain back at the insurers, while physicians (who are biologically incapable of merging well it appears) seem to be about the only people left in American business who are not allowed to operate as a monopoly or cartel, (or at least on a no-bid cost-plus government contract). Hospital costs have gone up much faster than physician fees, and the AMA is of course squealing. But that’s the logical outcome of the ban on the corporate practice of medicine which maintained the guild model and prevented the evolution of physician organizations in a business-like direction for over half a century.

But for the doctors, the news is not so good. The DOJ re-solidifies its current stance which is that self-employed doctors cannot unite and engage in collective bargaining with insurers. As TCHB contributor

Having made that bed over time, the AMA’s only choice other than to lie in it is to increase how much they’re paying in DC.  They put in enough to get a raise in Medicare payments of 1.5% in the MMA bill instead of the cut they were due.  Now they have to up their contributions so they get treated as well as hospitals, insurers and drug companies.

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