Below is a letter to the AMA by Dr. Samuel Metz of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and Health Care for All Oregon (HCAO) about his opposition to the AMA's endorsement of Donald Trump's nomination of Dr. tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Dear Oregon physicians,
The nomination of Dr. Tom Price as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services was endorsed by the American Medical Association. https://wire.ama-assn.org/ama-news/why-we-support-dr-price-lead-hhs
I was not happy with this choice. Below is a letter sent to the AMA office listing my objections. Following it are two responses from the AMA.
Other physicians were even more unhappy with this choice. Nationally, many took action:
The first link allows more physicians to join as signatories. Please consider doing so.
Please also consider contacting the AMA office with your opinion.
Samuel Metz, MD
From: Samuel Metz [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 10:17 AM
To: Medical Association American (Jack.Deutsch@ama-assn.org)
I am deeply disappointed with the AMA’s enthusiastic endorsement of Dr. Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services.
As the AMA endorsement states, Dr. Price is an experienced physician, administrator, and legislator. He understands how to achieve policy goals.
It is his specific policy goals that concern me. Dr. Price’s highest priorities are protecting physician Medicare revenue and reducing federal Medicaid spending.
In contrast, my highest priority is increasing every patient’s access to healthcare regardless of ability to pay at time of need. Dr. Price’s priorities conflict with mine.
I am a private practice anesthesiologist who enjoys my highly paid medical specialty. All my patients receive excellent care, or so I hope. My greater concern, and the concern the AMA should adopt, is getting care to patients who currently get none, and suffer or die for that lack of care. One third of Americans, insured or not, delay or defer care because of inability to pay. The US is unique among industrialized nations in rationing care on the basis of individual wealth.
Dr. Price’s policies improve my income and reduce my taxes. They do not correct America’s wretched system of denying care.
The AMA has always put my professional financial needs first. That should change. Compared to other nations, American patients (including mine) suffer the worst outcomes from chronic diseases and die more frequently of treatable diseases because of inability to pay for treatment. This also should change. I want the AMA to advocate for patients. I am willing to sacrifice portions of my income to bring better care to more patients.
The AMA endorsement of Dr. Price creates a moral dilemma. Do I remain a member of a professional organization that places my financial interests above the interests of patients too poor to afford care, even care from me?
The AMA public image, rightly or wrongly, as a “physicians first – patients second” organization is corroborated by this endorsement. I urge the AMA leadership to consider the credibility damage to the AMA generated by associating with Dr. Price’s policies. My fear is that the AMA will lose current members, lose public trust, and lose the next generation of physicians whose professional commitment places patient access above personal financial success.
Please reconsider the AMA endorsement of Dr. Price.
Samuel Metz, MD