In response to this statement the American College of Surgeons released the following letter, which goes on to decry the gross exaggeration of what a surgeon makes on a given operation. In addition it states that misinformation regarding healthcare does nothing to further the debate, adn that the surgeon patient relationship could be damaged as a result. Also, interesting is the many surgical subspecialties that signed on to the letter. This was not just the American College of Surgeons (ACS), but it also included everything from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to most if not all of the surgical specialties (Urology, Orthopedics, ENT etc.).
More recently the American Medical Association (AMA) has come out in support of the current legislation that passed in the house relating to health care reform. In a letter to Speaker Pelosi, the AMA applauded many of the proposed changes that the bill would enact--specifically they stated that the bill would expand coverage, reform the insurance industry, and protect patient-physician decision making.
Not long afterwards the ACS shot back with this letter to the senate, cosigned by 21 other specialty organizations. It rebutted several of the points made by the AMA and focused on several key issues that it had with the bill.
Additionally they reaffirmed the need for Tort reform in this statement:
CHICAGO: The American College of Surgeons applauds Democrats – led by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) – for recognizing the need for Congress to address medical liability reform as part of the overall health care reform bill currently under consideration. Over the past few weeks, we have been encouraged to have heard Democrats and Republicans across the country talking with constituents at town hall meetings about the need to address this important bipartisan issue.
The current climate in this country is one in which surgeons and other physicians are forced to practice in an environment of defensive medicine, sometimes ordering additional and possibly unnecessary tests in order to avoid lawsuits. Addressing medical liability reform as part of the overall health care reform bill will help to stem the tide of rising health care costs.
The American College of Surgeons urges President Obama to make medical liability reform a more central component of his call for overall health care reform. Further, we urge the leadership of both the House of Representatives and the Senate to include this important issue in the bills that they will take up in the coming weeks.
Here is President Obama speaking to the AMA regarding Tort reform.
Recently, the ACS has released a side by side chart of the House and Senate bills, along with what they view as some of the drawbacks.
The battle lines seem to have been drawn, with the AMA standing with the president and the majority of the Democrats (except Tort reform), while the ACS and most Republicans stand in opposition (although both groups support repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate provision--something opposed be most Republicans and some Democrats). It's interesting to me how this has happened, I wonder if the average surgeon would describe themselves as being right-leaning politically and the average medicine doctor would say they are left-leaning, or whether this is just how the chips fell in this one instance.