Because I apparently like to inflict self-harm, I’ve subscribed to the AMA Morning Rounds, a daily medical news round-up. In theory, since physicians believe in science and truth, it should be an awesome way to keep up with medical facts. Instead, it’s become a tiresome exercise in spinning news for political friends. Today’s newsletter was typical of their classic spin tactic: Lead with a questionable headline backed by faulty science, and then put the truth further down the page, below the fold.
The headline, and title of the AMA email today, was “Study: Massachusetts mortality dropped following 2006 health law.” Three cheers for the central planners of Massachusetts! And since ObamaCare IS RomneyCare…we can extrapolate that to saving bazillions of lives all across America!
Well, never mind the fact that the authors were Dr. Benjamin Sommers, a paid advisor to the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Sharon K. Long, of the left-wing Urban Institute, anyone with a shred of scientific sensibility knows how flimsy this study and its conclusions are. Even Dr. Sommers admits “researchers did not have the individual data on the 270,000 people who had gained insurance in the state, and could not tell for sure whether it was the expansion that had driving the mortality decline”.
So there, it’s crap science, and it makes AMA headlines. Brilliant.
But what truth lies below the fold…”Massachusetts to replace struggling exchange.” Utter disaster. Replacing the failed website will cost $100 million. 200,000 people placed “temporarily” on Medicaid to the tune of $24 million, another 100,000 people allowed to “temporarily” stay on non-compliant healthcare plans costing the state $10 million a month. This is one state, and we’re expanding the nightmare across the nation.
No wonder they needed the “lives saved” headline to cover up the complete fail of their system. In Massachusetts, hundreds of thousands of patients are at the mercy of the state and federal government for their health insurance and that system is failing. They have no power to purchase the care they want. Shame on the AMA for shilling when American patients are living with such uncertainty in their healthcare.
Meg Edison MD is a pediatrician in private practice. You can follow Dr. Edison on Twitter at @megedison