President Obama yesterday addressed the annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) and waded into some of the controversies surrounding health care reform.

Last week, the AMA issued a statement expressing discomfort with the idea of a public insurance plan, and has scheduled a vote this week during the annual meeting to establish a position on the idea. The president tried to woo the membership by addressing the issue head on and reiterating the argument that it was needed to level the playing field with traditional insurance companies.

President Obama also ruled-out the idea of reform including a “single payer system” or all health insurance provided by the government: “There are countries where a single-payer system may be working. But I believe – and I’ve even taken some flak from members of my own party for this belief – that it is important for us to build on our traditions here in the United States. So, when you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this – they are not telling the truth.”

In addition, the president reiterated his support for legislation with employer and individual mandates as well as calling for a revenue-neutral bill paid for by his charitable tax deduction rate reduction proposal and elimination of waste in the health care system. He also referred to health care costs as a “ticking time-bomb” that needs to be addressed to prevent a long-term budget disaster.

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), a non-practicing orthopedic surgeon and AMA member, held a pre-speech conference call with reporters to argue against any proposed public plan. “When the government is running something, it subsidizes it to the point private industry can’t compete,” he said on the call.

Did you find President Obama’s speech convincing (especially if you work in a medical profession)?

Quick Hits

Congressional Budget Office releases HELP bill estimates (letter here)… Kaiser Family Foundation Poll finds Americans support health care reforms, but not pay-fors… American Hospital Association CEO (and ASAE member) Richard Umbdenstock speaks out against president’s plan to cut Medicare and Medicaid… Today’s 2:30 PM HELP Committee hearing has been moved to tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10:00 AM.