Mara Liasson claimed that the AMA opposes a public plan as a component of health care reform. In fact, after being quoted in The New York Times saying that it opposed a public plan, the AMA backtracked.
On the June 12 broadcast of NPR's Morning Edition, national political correspondent Mara Liasson reported of health care reform proposals: “Republicans oppose a public plan. So does the American Medical Association, the country's biggest doctors lobby.” But Liasson did not note that after being quoted in The New York Times saying that it opposed a public plan, the AMA backtracked.
A June 10 New York Times article reported that the organization “will oppose creation of a government-sponsored insurance plan.” The Times added: " 'The A.M.A. does not believe that creating a public health insurance option for non-disabled individuals under age 65 is the best way to expand health insurance coverage and lower costs. The introduction of a new public plan threatens to restrict patient choice by driving out private insurers, which currently provide coverage for nearly 70 percent of Americans.' " Subsequently, in a release responding to the Times, AMA president Nancy Nielsen stated: “Today's New York Times story creates a false impression about the AMA's position on a public plan option in health care reform legislation.” Neilsen added: “The AMA opposes any public plan that forces physicians to participate, expands the fiscally-challenged Medicare program or pays Medicare rates, but the AMA is willing to consider other variations of a public plan that are currently under discussion in Congress.”
Moreover, Liasson ignored the support of other doctors' groups for a public plan, including -- as The Washington Post's Ezra Klein has noted -- the National Physicians Alliance and Physicians for a National Health Program.
From the June 12 edition of NPR's Morning Edition:
LIASSON: Up until now, President Obama has confined himself to broad principles for a health care overhaul, leaving the details to Congress, but he could no longer avoid the one detail that's emerged as the biggest obstacle to health care legislation: Republicans oppose a public plan. So does the American Medical Association, the country's biggest doctors lobby. And even more perilous for the president, so do many moderate Democrats in Congress whose votes he needs to pass a bill.