While watching the Democratic debate Monday night, I saw this ad put out by a group called the Partnership for America’s Healthcare Future (PAHCF). According to their About Us page, the PAHCF is a group of lobbyists made up of the American Hospital Association (AHA), PhRMA, HCA Healthcare, and about a dozen states’ associations of health underwriters (local health insurance lobbies). It dismayed me to learn that there are also two physician specialty societies who have yoked themselves to the PAHCF lobby – the AANS (neurosurgery) and the ACR (radiology).
Regardless of your feelings on Medicare For All, I think it’s ethically dubious for specialty societies to contribute to a lobby like this. The PAHCF does not appear to offer any alternative solutions to Medicare for All, and they do not seem to want a nuanced debate over healthcare reform. Rather, their main purpose seems to be maintaining the status quo in our seriously flawed healthcare delivery system. I think we physicians have a responsibility to try to take a leadership role in addressing these flaws directly, rather than offering blanket criticisms of reform efforts.
I expect organizations like the AHA and HCA and PhRMA to be self-serving in their political activity. I would hope that we as physicians would hold ourselves to a higher ethical standard.
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