AMA HOD Reaffirms Support For Access to Health Insurance, Value-Based Pricing For Prescription Drugs

November 17, 2016 | Aaron P. Kithcart, MD, PhD and
Sunny Jhamnani, MD


The American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates (HOD) convened in Orlando, FL, this past weekend for its Interim Meeting to consider topics of importance to clinicians and to establish policy for the AMA. Opening session speakers focused on the impending implementation of the Quality Payment Program (formerly known as MACRA) and the significant changes made to the final rule – the result of strong advocacy efforts by the AMA, the ACC, and many others in the clinician community. Additionally, the AMA leadership clearly and repeatedly announced its intention, in accordance with long-standing policy, to work with the newly elected presidential administration in a non-partisan fashion. The AMA reaffirmed previous policy that support access to health insurance for all Americans. The College intends to operate in a similar fashion, also a continuation of official ACC policy.


The ACC introduced, and the HOD adopted, language that supports the inclusion of graphic warning labels on all tobacco products, including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Resolution 925, “Graphic Warning Label on all Cigarette Packages,” will compel the AMA to “evaluate all opportunities for effective advocacy by organized medicine to require graphic warning labels depicting the dangers of smoking on all cigarette packages,” and endorse the relevant efforts of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Among the other issues debated at the HOD were drug pricing, the role of maintenance of certification, firearm violence and methods for addressing the opioid crisis. Key resolutions passed by the HOD included reaffirmation of value-based pricing for prescription drugs, an ethical opinion supporting the physician-led collaborative care team, removing restrictions on federal funding for firearms violence research, and more resources for federal and state governments to address to opioid crisis. The HOD also passed a policy that would support exemptions for small practices from participating in the Merit-Based Incentive Program (MIPS) and MACRA.

The ACC is represented at the HOD by Jerry D. Kennett, MD, MACC, delegation chair; Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, MACC, delegate; L. Samuel Wann, MD, MACC, delegate; Suma Thomas, MD, FACC, delegate; Eugene Sherman, MD, FACC, alternate delegate; Aaron P. Kithcart, MD, PhD, ACC FIT delegate from the Resident and Fellow Section. Sunny Jhamnani, MD, joined the delegation as an FIT representative of ACC’s Emerging Advocate Program.

AMA Delegation

ACC’s delegates also joined delegates representing other organizations within the house of cardiology. These include Joseph D. Babb, MD, FACC, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions; Jim W. Cheung, MD, FACC, Heart Rhythm Society; Gerald F. Fletcher, MD, FACC, American Heart Association; Steven Hao, MD, FACC, Heart Rhythm Society; Vinay Malholtra, MD, FACC, Society for Cardiovascular Computed Tomography; Javed M. Nasir, MD, FACC, Heart Rhythm Society, delegate to the Resident and Fellow Section; Peter S. Rahko, MD, FACC, American Society of Echocardiography.

As Dr. Kithcart notes, “this was my 10th year in the HOD, having first attended as a medical student. For me, the policy making is as important as the networking with colleagues I have met over the course of many meetings. I am always impressed with the knowledge and passion each member brings to the AMA, representing a wide range of specialties and experiences. This year, I am proud to be elected to another term as the FIT representative from the ACC.”

Dr. Jhamnani adds that “the scope and breadth of the issues that the AMA deals with, amazes me. This time again, the association did not fail to touch on matters of importance to the House of Medicine, especially considering that how soon after the presidential election the House of Delegations met. May it be MACRA/QPP, the ACA or DACA, once again the AMA, ACC and other state and specialty societies showed that it could rise together as a team, harnessing each others’ diversities and strengths to work together towards a common goal.”

The AMA HOD remains a vital place to garner support from the House of Medicine on advocacy issues impacting all cardiology professionals. Stay tuned to ACC’s Advocacy pages on for advocacy-related updates and news.

This article was authored by Aaron P. Kithcart, MD, PhD, a Fellow in Training (FIT) at Brigham & Women's Hospital, and Sunny Jhamnani, MD, an FIT at Yale University. Both are members of ACC’s Emerging Advocates Program.

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