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July 25, 1980 - Image 9

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1980-07-25

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, July 25, 1980-Page 9

AMA balks at
study saying
HMOs cheaper

CHICAGO (AP)-The American
Medical Association balked yesterday
at accepting a report by an AMA coun-
cil that said health maintenance
organizations seem to be less expensive
than traditional ways of providing
medical care.
The AMA's House of Delegates, win-
ding up its five-day annual meeting
here, sent a key section of the
report-the part on HMO costs-back
for more study.
"IF THAT REPORT had been accep-
ted it would have given the impression
that the AMA thinks HMOs save money
which they don't," said Dr. Theodore
Grevas of Rock Island, Ill.
Dr. John Ring of Mundelein, Ill., a
member of the Council on Medical Ser-
vice, which wrote the report, said,
"Anybody who studies HMOs for very
long realizes that they cost less, but at a
price-the sacrifice of the doctor-
patient relationship."
"I believe the AMA has to take a long
look at HMOs and why they cost less
and we might possibly benefit from it,"
Ring said.
A HEALTH maintenance
anizatin is a clinic nr aronn af doc-

tors that agrees to provide all or most
health care to its members for a fixed,
paid-in-advance fee.
Nine million Americans are enrolled
in the nation's 233 HMOs, whose num-
ber has expanded rapidly since the
federal government began providing
them grants and loans under a 1973 law.
The report by the AMA council said
HMOs seem to cost less than traditional
fee-for-service medical care provided
by physicians to patients who carry
health insurance. The report said this is
because HMO members spend less time
in the hospital than people under other
plans.
DELEGATES TO THE convention
spoke angrily against the government
subsidies to HMOs, calling them a sub-
version of the free market system of
health care. The federal Office of
Health Maintenance Organizations has
disbursed $112 million since the grants
began.
The AMA delegates also opposed a
government program that has sent
mailings to Medicare recipients en-
couraging them to investigate HMOs in
their areas.

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