In “America’s Ruling Class” published in the American Spectator, Angelo M. Codevilla writes:
To the extent party leaders do not have to worry about voters, they can choose privileged interlocutors, representing those in society whom they find most amenable. In America ever more since the 1930s — elsewhere in the world this practice is ubiquitous and long-standing — government has designated certain individuals, companies, and organizations within each of society’s sectors as (junior) partners in elaborating laws and administrative rules for those sectors. The government empowers the persons it has chosen over those not chosen, deems them the sector’s true representatives, and rewards them. They become part of the ruling class.
Thus in 2009-10 the American Medical Association (AMA) strongly supported the new medical care law, which the administration touted as having the support of “the doctors” even though the vast majority of America’s 975,000 physicians opposed it. Those who run the AMA, however, have a government contract as exclusive providers of the codes by which physicians and hospitals bill the government for their services. The millions of dollars that flow thereby to the AMA’s officers keep them in line, while the impracticality of doing without the billing codes tamps down rebellion in the doctor ranks.
Read the whole article: America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution.
For more about the AMA’s monopoly on billing codes, read AMA’s Government-Protected Monopoly Squeezes Out Alternative Medicine by the Alliance for Natural Health. An excerpt:
In 1997, the US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, ruled that the AMA’s exclusivity agreement with HCFA for using CPT “gave the AMA a substantial and unfair advantage over its competitors” and “constituted a misuse of the copyright by the AMA.” The court did not address whether the AMA’s conditions and high prices for a licensee’s use of the CPT code constituted violations of anti-trust law as well.
In 2001, when he was Senate Minority Leader, Trent Lott (D-MS) asked the Department of Health and Human Services to clarify the exclusivity arrangement it had with the AMA’s coding system. In response, the HHS approved a two year pilot project using the ABC codes. The pilot project was an amazing success, providing stunning statistics in a report showing the need for a revised billing code system-one that would include billing codes for ALL health practitioners.
(Monopoly article via the Institute for Health Freedom)
Mary Ruwart nicely summarizes how the American Medical Association and legislation biased toward insurance companies crowded out health care mutual aid societies. Today their equivalents are health care cooperatives. The following is from The Liberator Online, June 24, 2010:
QUESTION: I think part of the problem with today’s health care system is the over-reliance on insurance companies. They are (rightfully) in the business of making money, and as a result they keep raising premiums.
What about the idea of competing with them by fostering the creation of non-profit insurance and/or medical co-ops? In a co-op, any profits would stay in the co-op to offset the additional cost of helping those currently lacking basic care.
MY SHORT ANSWER:
You’ve pretty much described the “mutual aid societies” that once protected Americans against medical disasters — before government regulated them out of business for the benefit of the doctors and insurance companies.
What special interest groups got paid off in the Democrat-sponsored health care “reform” bills? They include unions, the AARP, the American Medical Association, the state of California, and the state of Louisiana. See:
Health Care BS’s Health reform: Who got paid off? and Michelle Malkin’s The Demcare bribe list.
Reposted from John Goodman’s health policy blog:
People are fond of believing that the American Medical Association (AMA) represents physicians. But if representation follows revenues, the AMA’s most important customer is probably the federal government.
In1983, an agreement between the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) and the AMA made the AMA’s copyrighted Current Procedural Terminology codes (CPT) the sole coding system that could be used for billing Medicare.
An outline of the history of the CPT coding system is contained in a letter from Senator Trent Lott to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. It is posted on the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons website.
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann describe how the American Medical Association, the AARP, and health insurance companies, benefit from the House Health Reform Bill (HR 3962) at the expense of everyone else. (Well, except for politicians.)
The AMA: Politicians promise not to cut Medicare’s reimbursement rates to doctors. Do they really believe politcians’ promises?
For more on the AMA, see: Who Does the AMA Really Represent?
The AARP: It sells Medi-Gap insurance, which covers what traditional Medicare does not. Yet, Medicare Advantage, a way for those eligible for Medicare to buy a product from a private insurer, offers an alternative to this. The House Bill cuts payments to Medicare Advantage plans.
Insurance companies: HR 3962 makes it a crime not to buy their products.