Heartland Institute Mocks AMA’s Attack on Health Insurers

Published May 25, 2010

CHICAGO (May 26, 2010) — The Heartland Institute today released its “Physician Code of Conduct Principles”  listing some 40 things doctors “must do” in order to restore order and quality to the nation’s health care system.

The document is a satirical response to the “Health Insurer Code of Conduct Principles” released May 25 by the American Medical Association (AMA).

While the AMA’s code demands that health insurers “must not cancel policies,” “must calculate health insurance premiums fairly,” and must do much (much!) more, Heartland’s code demands that doctors “must inform their patients about the prices of procedures and physician compensation,” “must submit to an annual audit to ensure the financial stability of the practice,” and much (much!) more.

“The AMA has shown unprecedented arrogance by pointing a finger at the health insurance industry for problems in the American health care system,” said Peter Fotos, director of government relations for The Heartland Institute. “To be sure, insurers bear part of the blame for high costs and inefficiencies in the system. But it’s ridiculous for physicians to pretend they are not also culpable.

“Our ‘Physicians Code of Conduct’ does to doctors what the doctors just did to insurers: a drive-by attack blaming them for everything that is wrong with health care today, making ridiculous and even impossible demands on them.”

In small print, Heartland’s Code of Conduct warns it “is not to be taken seriously” and that “like the AMA’s code, some of our ‘principles’ are good but most are bad. Proposing such phony ‘codes’ does nothing to promote health care reform.”

“Doctors become their own worst enemies when they endorse placing a heavy regulatory burden on health insurance companies,” said Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute. “Doctors should be working to form a partnership with health insurers that pushes for real heath care reform, such as expanding health savings accounts, removing coverage mandates, and opposing a government takeover of the health care profession.”

While claiming to speak for all of the nation’s physicians, the AMA actually represents only 17 percent of physicians nationwide. The Heartland Institute is a 26-year-old national nonprofit research and education organization that claims to speak only for itself.

Heartland’s Physician Code of Conduct Principles is available online. For more information about the code and Heartland’s work on health care reform, call Peter Fotos at 312/377-4000 or reach him by email at [email protected].