A quick look at the press releases coming from the AMA during their annual meeting this week revealed numerous protectionist or otherwise paternalistic positions taken by the physician lobby. The august AMA House of Delegates approved resolutions that called for:
- greater efforts by health insurers to make price information available to patients (physician, heal thyself)
- a prohibition on direct-to-consumer advertising of every new drug until physicians feel they’ve had enough time to learn about the drug (pity the poor MD who doesn’t know the answers to his patients’ questions – and First Amendment be damned!)
- regulation of nurse practitioner-run clinics, which offer affordable access to basic care (and pose a threat to physician incomes; blogged previously here)
- “ending alcohol ads on college sports telecasts, smoking bans, warning labels on video games,” etc., etc.
- “urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revoke the ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS) status of salt and to develop regulatory measures to limit sodium in processed and restaurant foods,” etc., etc.
- requiring Americans to purchase health insurance (which increases the appetite for physician services; blogged previously here)
Paging Dr. Bastiat …
But not all was venal and meddlesome in Chicago this week. On a (barely) positive note, the AMA gave a “cautious green light” to the practice of “solicitation of organs from potential donors who have no preexisting relationship with the recipient.” So for all of you who are reading this while your blood is flowing through a dialysis machine, and who don’t want to be one of the thousands who will die on the kidney transplant waiting list this year, if you go out and try to find someone who will give you a kidney so that you can live, the AMA has decided that would be “ethically acceptable.” There. Feel better?