American Medical Association's Hypocrisy on Health Care Reform

In his statement responding to the passage of health care reform Sunday evening, American Medical Association president J. James Rohack managed to strike a tone that was both optimistic and condescending. "While the House-passed bill isn't perfect, we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good when it comes to something as important as the health of Americans," he noted, lauding the legislation as a "historic opportunity" to help patients.

That's right, America: We cannot let perfect be the enemy of good on something as important as health care reform.

The message would be more convincing if it weren't coming from the same American Medical Association that, just a few months ago, threatened to withhold its support of the entire health care reform package over the issue of whether a 5% tax should be imposed on cosmetic plastic surgery to help pay for it.

Back in December, after a lobbying campaign by the American Medical Association and others, the "Botax" was removed from the bill and replaced with a 10% tax on tanning beds. The American Medical Association then lent its support to the bill, noting -- among other things -- that it "eliminates the tax on physician services for cosmetic surgery."

So apparently the real message here is this: "We must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, but we would have happily derailed health care reform over a 5% tax on breast implants."

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