AMA Leary of Obama's Health Care Reform

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Doctors attending the 158th annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) are skeptical of President Obama's idea of a government insurance program to help cover the 46 million Americans who don't have it.

"We don't think this is the best way," said Nancy Nielson, President of the American Medical Association. "That doesn't mean we oppose. It means we would like to talk about perhaps other options."
    
The AMA wants a seat at the drafting table, but ultimately, the details of any health care legislation will be written by Congress.
    
And for critics of the public plan, that would compete directly with private insurers, there's little room for compromise.

"I think that, for virtually every republican, a government plan is a non-starter," said Senator Mitch McConnell.

"It would be terrible for hospitals, awful for doctors, and ultimately, it would be a disaster for the people of america," said Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts.
    
Several conservative Democrats are also leary about a government run health care program.
    
A debate that is playing out across the airwaves, among competing interests, and clearly shows just how difficult it will be to reach consensus when it comes to reform.

"A public health insurance option is a competitor in the marker that will lower costs and keep those insurance companies honest," said Richard Kirsch of Health Care for America Now.

"It will bankrupt all of the major hospitals in the United States, because it pays at public program rates which are already significantly underfunding providers," said Karen Ignani, President of American Health Insurance Plans.
    
Another major issue is figuring out how to pay for the overhaul.
    
Over the weekend, President Obama announced $635 billion dollars in spending cuts to help finance health care reform.

"If more Americans are insured, we can cut payments that help hospitals treat patients without health insurance," Obama said. "If the drug makers pay their fair share, we can cut government spending on prescription drugs."

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are busy drafting the details of health care legislation. The House Ways and Means Committee includes $600 billion dollars in tax increases and $400 billion in cuts to medicare and medicaid.

Charlie Rangel, the Committee Chairman, said he believes the cost of health care reform will exceed a trillion dollars. Some republicans think it will cost as much as one and a half trillion.

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