The American Medical Association has spoken out against the so-called public, meaning government-run, health care option the President wants, according to the New York Times:

The opposition, which comes as Mr. Obama prepares to address the powerful doctors’ group on Monday in Chicago, could be a major hurdle for advocates of a public insurance plan. The A.M.A., with about 250,000 members, is America’s largest physician organization.

While committed to the goal of affordable health insurance for all, the association had said in a general statement of principles that health services should be “provided through private markets, as they are currently.” It is now reacting, for the first time, to specific legislative proposals being drafted by Congress.

Why are they opposed?  They’re concerned about the restriction of patient choice that will inevitably result from the government plan’s takeover of the private market, which now covers almost 70% of Americans, and the explosion of costs that would result from huge numbers of people signing up for the public plan.  And they object to being regarded as public property:

Under a proposal favored by many Democrats, doctors who take Medicare patients would also have to participate in the new public plan. Democrats say that requirement is needed to make sure the public plan can go into business right away with a large network of doctors.

The medical association said it “cannot support any plan design that mandates physician participation.” For one thing, it said, “many physicians and providers may not have the capability to accept the influx of new patients that could result from such a mandate.”

“In addition,” the A.M.A. said, “federal programs traditionally have never required physician or other provider participation, but rather such participation has been on a voluntary basis.”

They don’t seem to mind the government telling others what to do, though:

The association agrees with Mr. Obama on some points. It says that individuals and families who can afford coverage should be required to obtain it.

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