Even as the federal government is facing a historic deficit, the Democratic leadership in Congress has offered an expensive deal to doctors to win over their support for healthcare reform.
According to media reports, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid met with representatives of the American Medical Association (AMA) and offered to introduce a bill that would freeze the scheduled cuts to Medicare payments in exchange for the organization’s backing of the major health reform bill.
However, even though the bill is estimated to cost nearly $250 billion —and as the nation is facing as much as $9 trillion in federal deficit over the next decade — the congressional leadership has not offered to offset it by tax increases or spending cuts.
J. James Rohack, AMA president, praised the majority leadership for its effort that "[highlight] this program of broken physician payment formula that has to be solved," quoted by TheHill.com.
He also stressed the organization will continue to put pressure on lawmakers to push through a significant tort reform as it believes excessive medical malpractice payments are a major factor contributing to unnecessary costs.
The White House and congressional Democrats have been working to bring many industry interest groups to their side, and they have already enlisted general support from drug makers and hospitals.
The only group opposing their plans for healthcare overhaul are private health insurers.