AMA booted from Senate Medicare talks

The American Medical Association has lost a major lobbying round. The Senate Finance Committee has banned the group from discussions on an upcoming legislative package that would halt a 10 percent cut to physician fees. Right now, the 10 percent cut will go into effect July 1 unless Congress takes action. The AMA, never shy about pressing for its needs, would like to see the Finance Committee delay the 10 percent cuts for 18 months, as well as boost physician payments by 1.5 percent.

However, the AMA may have to watch from the sidelines now. According to published reports, Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) seems to have lost patience with the AMA, which he says broke a confidentiality agreement on Medicare talks last year when it shared insider information with its state affiliates. Also, the AMA committed a faux pas when it supported a 2006 budget provision, then complained about it later, reports say.

To learn more about the AMA's lobbying disappointment:
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report item

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