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Ethics and Public Policy |

Health Care Reform Ethical Considerations for Physicians

G. Richard Holt, MD, MSE, MPH, MABE
Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2011;13(5):359-361. doi:10.1001/archfacial.2011.50.
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Virtually every physician in the United States has been attentive to and concerned with the debate surrounding the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and its provisions. Furthermore, it is probably valid to state that every physician has an opinion regarding the value or detriment of the Act and how it may affect his or her practice and patients. I do not plan to address the political aspects associated with the Act and any changes that might or might not occur in 2011 with a change of power in Congress; that is beyond my expertise and prediction capabilities. Instead, I hope to set forward for consideration by my colleagues some ethical considerations that may be pertinent to a physician's assessment of health care reform, as well as to raise some issues that might be unpalatable but need to be kept in mind nevertheless. I will discuss ethical considerations in health care reform in the patient-physician relationship, population-based vs patient-based medicine, professional ethics and moral requirements, and social justice. These brief comments do not aim to preach but rather to highlight some fundamental tenets of any analysis of health care reform in this country.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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