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  • AMSA Supports Dr. Murthy Appointment for U.S. Surgeon General

    AMSA, representing almost 40,000 physicians-in-training in the United States, supports the appointment of Dr. Vivek Murthy for U.S. Surgeon General. Dr. Murthy was a member of AMSA during his medical training.

    Nominated by President Barack Obama, Dr. Vivek Murthy has garnered intense opposition from the National Rifle Association and its supporters for his long-time support of increased gun regulations for private owners in the United States.

    Guns are involved in about 85 deaths each day in this country. Each year, more than 60,000 people suffer nonfatal injuries from guns.

    According to AMSA National President Dr. Nida Degesys, "As the founder of Doctors for America and a former emergency room physician, he has dedicated himself to expanding access of affordable health care and advocating for his patients. The role of the U.S. Surgeon General should be to advocate on behalf of a public health crisis, such as gun violence. With his past experience and insight into the crisis, AMSA believes Dr. Murthy is ready to become ‘the nation’s physician.’”

    AMSA urges the enactment of effective federal violence prevention legislation which calls for a ban on the sale, manufacture, importation, ownership and possession of guns in the United States, except for police, ...

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  • Video goes viral: U.S. Senate Hearing on Single-Payer System

    The U.S. Senate’s subcommittee on primary health and aging held a hearing with the theme, “What can the U.S. learn about health care from other countries?” Convened by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the hearing featured discussions of health care systems in Canada, Taiwan, Denmark and France.

    Perhaps the most memorable portion of the hearing was the debate over a single payer system, in which Canadian physician Dr. Danielle Martin faced off against North Carolina Senator Richard Burr. Dr. Martin fields Senator Burr’s questions admirably, and debunks many misconceptions about Canada’s single-payer system that Burr brings up.

    A video of the debate was uploaded onto YouTube by Senator Bernie Sanders, and has since been spread across media sites with the headlines praising Dr. Martin for “schooling”, “smacking down”, and “dropping some serious knowledge on” the Republican senator. Hopefully, the flood of media attention on this single-payer debate will ultimately help persuade Americans to support a single-payer system in the US. In her final response, Dr. Martin makes an important and perhaps disturbing observation about the current U.S. healthcare system:

    North Carolina Senator Burr: On average, how many Canadian patients on a waiting list die each year? Do you know?
    Dr. Martin:...

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  • Physicians switching to salary pay

    By Katie Ni
    AMSA Health Policy Education and Outreach Coordinator

    The current trend for both primary care and specialists has shifted from private practice model and embrace salaried jobs with hospitals. The American Medical Association says that 60% of family doctors and pediatricians, 50% of surgeons, and 25% of surgical subspecialty physicians are employees rather than independent (See graph).

    Hospitals have been offering physicians much more attractive deals than what is traditionally experienced in private practice. Private practice makes less revenue and includes higher risk. It is not surprising to see many physicians making the switch.

    On the surface, the increase in salaried doctors seems like good news for controlling health costs. In reality, physicians in hospitals are rewarded for doing more procedures and prescribing more medicines. This may particularly be the case for doctors who were drawn into hospitals by the competitive pay in the first place.

    It is truly unacceptable for physicians to allow their own financial gain to effect making the best decision for their patients. Some may say that it is human nature, others consider this to be a reflection on character. However, there are two main ways the medical community can improve the situation. The ...

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  • Business as usual, the profits of insurance companies and the ACA

    By Whitney McFadden
    AMSA Health Policy Chair

    There are 515 counties in the US with only one insurance option through the online marketplace. Insurers have a business model based on profits that lead to marketing in areas where they will have the most financial success. The economic effects of the Affordable Care Act on the business of private insurance companies are limiting the choices of Americans in poor counties. However many Americans in these areas have higher government subsidies and therefore do not directly feel the financial burden of these higher premiums.

    USC Health Finance Professor Glen Melnick explains that our model of reform does not focus on insuring everyone, but places funds in the hands of insurers who respond to business opportunities. He says, "is it going to continue to be about private insurance markets, or will it be about patients - all patients? An improved Medicare for all would be about the latter."

    Aetna Inc and UnitedHealth Group Inc have focused their provider pool to counties where they believe to turn a profit. They focus on areas of stable employment, high levels of income, and better health environments. "We are very careful to pick the markets where the insurer ...

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  • $1.1 trillion spending bill and what it means for healthcare in 2014

    By Katie Ni
    Education & Outreach Coordinator, AMSA Health Policy Team

    Last Thursday, the Senate voted to pass the $1.1 trillion spending bill that will fund the government through this September. The bill passed easily in both the Senate and the House-- perhaps with the memory of government shutdown still fresh in representatives’ minds. Here is the short and sweet version of what this year’s budget has in store for health policy:

    1. Funding for the Affordable Care Act will be cut. The ACA will see cut funding in two places: $1 billion will be cut from Prevention and Public Health Fund, and $10 million will be cut from the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the panel given the task of making changes to Medicare payment and program rules. IPAB was made to achieve savings for Medicare, but has been denounced by its critics as a “death panel” that will reduce access to care. A cut of $10 million from the IPAB’s former budget of $15 million may limit the board’s capabilities significantly.

    2. The NIH will recover funding lost from sequestration, BUT overall will see a decrease in funding. The NIH will receive $29.9 billion for 2014, which is ...

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