Withholding dues to protest groups not standing up to government

LETTER — Posted Aug. 23, 2004

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Regarding "There are plenty of reasons why physicians should join the AMA" (Letters, July 12): I have been a member of the AMA and the American Osteopathic Assn. for years; however, I declined this year to pay my annual dues.

This is in part due to a tightened budget, as our reimbursements from government and insurance companies have decreased but my practice overhead does not; but also as a protest. I have been working in the medical field since the early '60s and remember arguments I heard physicians make at that time as far as encroaching government issues and so forth. As a physician since 1971 I have most certainly heard increasing cries from physicians. Yet knowing all of this, none of our medical societies have stood up to government in the way that is necessary to get the job done for us physicians.

We need an organization that will tell the government we are not going to do this, we are not going to accept this, and let it be. But also we need physicians who are willing to accept such strong leadership and get behind it. I hear a lot of weeping from physicians and have for years but yet I don't see this happening.

I am likely to renew my memberships because I believe in our wonderful profession, but I also have grave concerns.

James M. Merrill, DO, Hurst, Texas

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/08/23/edlt0823.htm.

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