AMA Campaigning - Uncommon Thought Journal

AMA Campaigning

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By Rowan Wolf

A new pop-up ad just appeared while I was surfing this morning. "The Patients Action Network" It reads: "18 states are in healthcare crisis. 26 are in severe decline. Are you affected? Click here to find out. It has a pictire of Bush giving a speech (or acting like he's giving a speech).

Curious, I clicked. It took me to Patients Action Network Medical Liability Reform Campaign. But whose site is it???? The American Medical Association. It is an email your legislators campaign and it says:

Dear Member of Congress
I am deeply concerned about the status of the United States healthcare system. Costs are escalating rapidly. At the same time, it’s getting more and more difficult for patients like me to get an appointment with a doctor near home. .

I support President Bush’s approach to solving this problem—medical liability reform. The fact is, thousands of frivolous medical lawsuits are filed each year by individuals hoping to “hit the lottery” with a big court award. Even though fewer than 10% ever make trial, the costs of defending against these suits are high—and are ultimately passed down to patients. What’s worse, when physicians can no longer afford the rising cost of liability insurance, they simply retire, leave the area, or limit the treatment they offer—leaving patients in many areas without adequate access to medical care..

The great thing about liability reform is that there are no losers—except the trial lawyers. Patients with legitimate suits will be able to recover unlimited economic damages to cover future medical expenses, lost wages, etc. Non-economic damages, like “pain and suffering,” would be capped at $250,000..

This is a reasonable proposal that will have a positive impact on our healthcare system, and I encourage you, as my elected representative in Congress, to do everything in your power to get it passed. Thank you for your time.

Now we know that companies fake "green" campaigns, but this is the AMA. Apparently all their money to legislators isn't carrying the day. I guess this is a sign of strength for us, but it does tick me off.


An NPR news story last week stated that about 5% of doctors are responsible for the overwhelming amount of lawsuits filed - maybe the AMA could concentrate their attention on cleaning house instead of demonising people who seek damages for medical malpractise. Remembering that it is a jury of 'peers' that makes these 'awards' only after hearing the horror-stories...
But if you ask me, it's the insurance industry that wants the overhaul - they've lost money on stock market gambling, and are now clawing back in raised and cancelled premiums across the board. Given that insurance is mandatory on such things as vehicles and mortgaged homes, as well as medical practise, there should be some regulatory body that stops automatic rate increases based on how much the given company needs to recoup to profit its shareholders....

I'm training to become a nurse right now and I guess I have some moral difficulty with what humans seem to expect from the medical field. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems to me that humans want to live forever. Honestly, I've located this will in myself. I don't want to die. The most powerful perspective of the Leaver cultures (at least to me) seems to be an acceptance of death. Taker cultures seem to want to live forever. This won't happen. But the promise of Taker culture is that we will find a way. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems like the basis for all lawsuits has something to do with accusation. we are raised to understand that all problems can be solved by humans, by science, etc. And when somebody fucks up... What happens when you decide to rule the world? How do you account for this and this and this... I find myself looking more and more at Orwell and Huxley these days... Also Hemingway and Robert Stone... and especially Fitzgerald. The last paragraph of The Great Gatsby sums it all up for me. Chasing this illusion... We have individual humans who are living in the realm of this illusion, who with money create a reality that allows them to forget about death for awhile and immurse themselve in the western form of the will to power... cancer strikes or whatever... who is responsible...? Other humans? So much finger pointing. USA humans are so angry... indignant... the kind of ange born of deception?

Hey Ms Wolfe, I admire your energy. I have to visit this library to visit your website. Your class changed my life. I thought I was crazy. I had never encountered an educated human with a fierce intelligence outside of a book... who put it all in a measurable perspective... this computer is about to kick me off in twenty seconds... so anyway thanks

Jason, in some ways I agree. What has touched me is the will to life. You see it in the dandelion drowing through the crack in the freeway. I have also seen the decision to let go. When a being says the time is up. In this culture it seems we are socialized to fear death rather than accept it.

Barbara, I think you are on target. There are issues here that are impacting communities however - particularly in obstretrics. Many rural communities no longer have obstreticians because they can't afford to practice. I think part of this combines with what Jason is saying. Parents have much more difficulty perhaps losing children. There IS a problem of poor practioners, or of corporate medicine that doesn't let doctors practice good medicine. I am sure that corporate medicine has a BIG stake in limiting malpractice claims.

I agree that corporate medicine has a stake in limiting the amount they can be sued for in malpractise suits - they also have a stake in maintaining our current belief of just what 'health' is in this country - and for some it's living as you like, and patching up the outcome to continue things as they were...this is not to point fingers at anyone, but as a nation we need to understand that our bodies are impacted by the unhealthy environments we live in, that dis-ease can be the result of the chemical soup we ingest, breathe and live surrounded by daily. If our food is not nutritious, our health will suffer. If our air/water is polluted, ditto. This despite our medical 'advances' that might prolong living, or heavy reliance on ingesting legal drugs to mediate the symptoms of our illness. Most of us don't have time to 'listen' to our bodies anymore, until they 'break down' and get our attention...
I doubt this will be a popular statement, but perhaps when communities are less reliant on their ob/gyn, they'll come to value a local mid-wife, have their babies without lying on their backs, feet in stirrups, medicated....and no, it won't work for everyone - but if you're a pregnant woman who drinks/smokes and you give birth to a premature infant with no recourse to medical intervention - maybe people will take better care of themselves and come to regard childbirth as more sacred, something to take responsibility for, and not just look to medicine to 'fix' it.
I agree with Jason that most people think it's their right to 'live forever'. Humans die every day around the world - what makes us think we are any more important than anyone else who lives without our privileged (and expensive) access to medical care?
And don't even get me started on the goverment's interference on a human's decision to end their life when it becomes intolerable and meaningless to them....