President Obama recently gave a speech at the annual meeting for the American Medical Association (AMA) in Chicago. The speech thrust the AMA squarely into the national spotlight as an organization that represents physicians around the country. While the president's discourse with the AMA drew a lot of attention to the issue of health care reform, it has also renewed the conversation in some circles of the medical community, where doctors are wondering whether the AMA speaks to their best interests as practicing physicians, as well as to the best interests of their patients. Dr. Rahul Parikh, a pediatrician based in California, recently wrote an article on the subject for the Health Care Blog. He joins hosts Dr. Michael Greenberg and Dr. Matt Birnholz to examine this question of professional organizations' representation of physicians. As we move toward a series of defining moments in the health reform debate, is the voice of the physician being heard during this ongoing conversation? If not, what can we do to make our professional concerns known?
Dr. Birnholz and Dr. Greenberg will also delve into an interesting ethical discussion of the medical care received by high-profile individuals. In recent weeks, Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the late Michael Jackson have made headlines regarding their medical care. Did their profile enable them to receive care to which others simply do not have access, and does this really serve to benefit the individual and the greater patient community?