Why are doctors backing a $50-million anti-reform campaign?

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, after crafting a long campaign to deny
global warming
, is now going to spend $50 million against vulnerable lawmakers who said "yes" to the health reform bill. It’s also assembling a pencil-toting army to weaken new regulations based on the health
bill, and readying lawsuits. Why would the American Medical Assn., by staying on the Chamber’s board of directors, financially and morally support this continued effort to kill health reform? You should call and ask. Phone numbers are below.

The letter, from the Chamber’s president, rehashes all of the
political slogans used by reform opponents, and concludes: "This
legislation is the wrong prescription for America. We must ‘reform the
reform.’" It also threatens lengthy lawsuits against any regulation "the Chamber" disagrees with. Here’s the letter.

The AMA and major, middle of the road consumer companies like Nike, AT&T and Pepsico should have quit and denounced the Chamber long ago. Either such groups and companies are lying to the public, or they’re somehow afraid to leave a powerful group that has marched far to the right of the members’ public images.

Here’s the lead of the Wall Street Journal story (subscription barrier):

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is planning a broad effort to blunt the
health overhaul by trying to shape its regulatory language and spending
heavily to unseat vulnerable Democrats who voted for it.

The campaign is the latest example of the escalating tensions
between proponents of the health overhaul and big businesses, which
have become more specific in their criticisms of the new law.

In recent days, a handful of large companies have reported hefty
charges because the law eliminates a tax deduction for firms that offer
prescription-drug coverage to retirees.

In a letter to board members Monday, chamber president and chief
executive Thomas J. Donohue said the business lobby will seek changes
to regulations to "minimize the potentially harmful impacts of this
bill on our members and the country." If regulators "exceed legislative
mandates or try for end-runs around the lawful rule-making process," he
wrote, the chamber "will take legal action."

Donohue also said the group planned to spend $50 million this summer
and fall to ensure that voters in pivotal House and Senate races know
where lawmakers stand on health and other big issues. The chamber spent
$36.4 million in the 2008 election.

At the heart of the effort will be a team of chamber staff that will
"participate in the years-long process of writing the thousands of
pages of federal regulations that will implement the many provisions of
this legislation," Mr. Donohue wrote.

Is this what the American Medical Association should be financially supporting? Here are the AMA phone numbers: (800) 621-8335 (main number) (312) 464-4430 (press office, a number likely to have a human answering it) or (202) 789-7447 (Washington lobbying office, probably the most effective place to call). No wonder doctors are leaving the AMA in droves. 


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