Stuart Schear

Recent Articles

The Ultimate Self-Referral: Health Care Reform, AMA-Style

Why did the American Medical Association support Newt Gingrich's proposals on Medicare? Not for the reasons the media suggested.

T ilting their heads upward, delegates to the annual convention of the American Medical Association (AMA) last June gazed at an enormous closed-circuit television screen in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Hilton. Suddenly, Newt Gingrich's face filled the blank space, and from the moment he began to speak, the usually staid crowd let loose shouts of approval and waves of applause. Holding aloft a copy of the AMA's hot-off-the-presses proposal, "Transforming Medicare," Speaker Gingrich told his audience exactly what it wanted to hear. "Unlike Ira Magaziner, we have actively reached out to ask the AMA to be at the table." In Washington a few months later, after a much ballyhooed, closed-door negotiating session with the House GOP, the AMA's leadership marched to the microphones to offer its public blessings for the GOP's Orwellian-titled Medicare Preservation Act of 1995. The AMA's endorsement generated front-page headlines, and its public stamp of approval offered Gingrich much-needed...