AMA Past President: A 'Great Day' in Health Care
ST. LOUIS, MO -- With the Supreme Court decision upholding President Obama's health care law just hours old, the featured presenter at this year's National Athletic Trainer's Association conference praised its potential to improve health care delivery in the United States.
"This is a great day in health care," announced Peter Carmel, MD, chair of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and immediate past president of the American Medical Association. "What happened today protected health care for over 40 million Americans." The AMA has long advocated for health care for all citizens, Dr. Carmel said.
Dr. Carmel delivered his address at the feature presentation of NATA's 63rd Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposia, held June 26-29 at the America's Center in St. Loius.
The United States has "slipped seriously behind" the rest of the world in regard to providing affordable health care to its citizens, said Dr. Carmel. "We cannot continue our current system as it is now," he said. However, Dr. Carmel warned that "political theater of the highest order" will follow today's ruling, with partisan talks of raising the debt ceiling and reduced spending to physicians to help fund the added coverage under the new act. "Get ready for the greatest show on Earth," he said.
Dr. Carmel further pointed out that medical manpower will lag far behind demand in upcoming years, as the population is projected to rise by 60 percent by the time the young people in his audience reach the end of their careers. This means that team-centered strategies of care delivery, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), will be necessary to allow ancillary providers (such as athletic trainers) to provide services while physicians can concentrate on purely medical aspects of a patient's care.
"We must have new provider payment models," Dr. Carmel said. Whether or not this comes to fruition, he remains skeptical. "No one in Washington has the knowledge or the courage to change the system," he said.
However, he called the Affordable Care Act a "huge first step" in correcting our current problems. "This is a new dawn in our health care system," he said.