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National Medical Association Supports 'Public Option, AMA Backs Overhaul

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr.
The National Medical Association (NMA) the largest and oldest medical organization representing the interests of 30,000 African-American physicians has expressed strong support for a ‘public option’ in President Barack Obama’s sweeping overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system.

“American’s physicians are solidly behind the President and Congress in this effort,” said Dr. Willarda Edwards, President of the NMA. “But we must stand shoulder-to-shoulder in addressing the affordability, quality, and sustainability of the nation’s health care system. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus’ markup is a step in that direction,” Edwards said in a statement published September 22.

“However, we are uncertain as to how co-ops would solve coverage and affordability problems if they are designed on a state by state basis,” said Dr. Mohammad Akhter, the NMA’s Executive Director, reacting to the latest Baucus document aimed at appeasing widespread criticism from conservatives to dump the controversial public insurance program.

Baucus’ legislation, built along the lines President Obama is seeking, aims to extend coverage to most uninsured Americans, expand protections for those already covered and generally reduce the ruinous growth in medical costs nationwide.

The American Medical Association (AMA) after 60 years of opposing any government overhaul of healthcare is now lobbying and advertising to win public support for President Obama’s sweeping plan—a proposal that promises hundreds of billions of dollars for America’s doctors. The AMA is also providing money and grassroots backing for the president’s plan.

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