AMA Opposes Public Insurance Plan, As Obama Prepares Reform Pitch

America's largest, most influential physician group said "it will oppose creation of a government-sponsored insurance plan, which President Obama and many other Democrats see as an essential element of legislation to remake the health care system," the New York Times reports. In comments to the Senate Finance Committee, the American Medical Association said, "The introduction of a new public plan threatens to restrict patient choice by driving out private insurers, which currently provide coverage for nearly 70 percent of Americans,” and would lead to an "explosion of costs" (Pear, 6/10).

Obama, meanwhile, is preparing to bring his health care pitch to association members in Chicago, where the group's policy-making House of Delegates is meeting, on Monday, the Chicago Tribune reports. A White House spokesman said the speech will be "part of the administration's push for health-care legislation, which he said is needed this year because the costs are 'unsustainable' and 'crushing families, businesses and government.'" The AMA has said that that physicians would help lower costs by reining in "overuse" of costly medical services and unnecessary prescriptions (Jaspen, 6/11).

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