AMA opposition to healthcare reform could jeopardize future of American motorcycling

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Wes_Injured.jpgPhoto: Basem Wasef

The American Motorcyclist Association has issued an “Action Alert” opposing reform of our health care system. That opposition appears to stem from the unsubstantiated belief that reform could somehow lead to an “unelected commission or board” denying motorcyclists access to medical care. Not only is this claim spurious, ill-informed and worryingly reminiscent of the moronic “death panels” rumor started by Sarah Palin, but it also acts in direct opposition to the greater good of American motorcyclists.

Update: AMA spokesperson Peter terHorst has responded in comments.
What’s being proposed by President Obama and various members of
Congress isn’t a European-style government-run healthcare system, but
rather reform of our health insurance industry. We’re not getting
government-run hospitals and federal employees as doctors, what’s
proposed are measures to increase competition among health insurance
providers and some checks to prevent the more flagrant abuses of those
insurance companies, things like denying coverage to people with
pre-existing medical conditions. Overall, this has the potential to
make healthcare more affordable and give more people access to it.

Competition among insurance providers across state lines is more likely
to bring costs down and coverage up than it is to reduce available
coverage. As a consumer, motorcyclist or not, that would mean more
options, not less. If an insurance company is reluctant to cover
injuries sustained on a motorcycle, you’ll have a better chance of
finding another company that does. In a free market, demand is met with
supply; if motorcyclists want coverage, they’ll have options to
purchase it. That’s sadly not the case with the current system, which
doesn’t allow competition between states, locks people into whatever
insurance company their employer decides to use and doesn’t offer any
realistic single-payer options at all.

A good friend of mine currently pays $1,200 a month for health
insurance in New York; as far as we can tell, he won’t be covered if he
ends up in a hospital after a motorcycle accident. There is no other
plan or provider within his price range that would cover bike-related

To our minds, the single greatest threat to motorcycling as a pastime,
community, activity, means of transportation or an industry is the
ever-increasing risk averseness of American society. As Americans
become more averse to risk, they’re less likely to become or to stay

In 1998, the NHTSA estimated that motorcyclists were three times as
likely as passenger car occupants to be injured in a crash. According
to The Washington Post, the cost of health insurance increased 36
percent between 2000 and 2004, four times the rate of inflation, while
at the same time the level of care provided decreased. The National
Coalition on Healthcare estimates
that there are 46 million Americans,
about 18 percent under the age of 65, that don’t have healthcare.

By increasing the risk of significant financial hardship should a
person be injured on a motorcycle, our broken healthcare system is
combining with our society’s increasing risk averseness to reduce the
number of people that are willing to ride motorcycles. It’s sort of the
perfect anti-motorcycle storm and it’s getting worse; the NCHC
that national health spending will double to $4.4 trillion a
year by 2018. Will there be anyone left willing to accept the risk of being bankrupted by medical bills and take up riding in a
decade’s time?
The AMA’s mission statement is, “to protect and promote the interests
of motorcyclists while serving the needs of its members.” We strongly
urge it to reconsider its position on healthcare reform to better align
itself with those interests.

Oh, and that’s me in the picture above, getting ready for a $1,600 ambulance ride.

You can read the AMA’s Action Alert here

  • Charlie

    Thx for the common sense post Wes. It’s is so discouraging to see the debate get hijacked with hyperbole and outright lies. The mass dialogue can be tainted so easily. And what it makes it disturbing is everyone is talking their own book. The GOP just wants Obama to fail, and the special interests pile on. And it’s not a partisan issue. Thx again for a dose of logic in the public discourse


    • middleoftheroad

      “The GOP just wants Obama to fail, and the special interests pile on. And it’s not a partisan issue.”

      It certainly is for YOU. LOL

  • Oscar

    “What’s being proposed by President Obama and various members of Congress isn’t a European-style government-run healthcare system…”

    Not yet, anyway, but that’s the goal according to Pres Obama in 2003 and 2007, Barney Frank, Jan Schakowsky and multiple other Democrat politicians.

  • Jefferson

    Beyond questioning why the AMA is making up parts of a proposed law that simply do not exist, perhaps we should ask why so many motorcyclists are reactionary morons. How did this happen? Is someone mixing crazy powder in 20w50? Anyone?

  • David Mucci

    Great write up Wes. I’ll be linking this to friends.

  • BL

    so, you read the healthcare bill?

    • Stephen

      No one has read the healthcare bill, mainly because there isn’t one. There are several competing proposals in various committees in both the House and the Senate but there is no bill as of yet.

      However, I can tell you about two items that will not be a part of healthcare reform now or probably ever. One is the revocation of the insurance industry’s antitrust exemption from the McCarran-Ferguson Antitrust Act (1945). Getting rid of this exemption would introduce competition by eliminating industry price-fixing.

      The second is meaningful tort reform. Physicians and hospitals are forced into practicing “defensive medicine” in which unecessary tests and procedures are ordered simply to deny personal injury attorneys any leeway in malpractice trials.

      So that’s it. Instead of goring the oxen of Republicans (insurance companies) and Democrats (trial lawyers), we’ll simply have yet another government program that is only effective in wasting taxpayer dollars.

      • Sasha Pave

        You make some good points Stephen, however the ‘defensive medicine’ is often overhyped by insurance companies. “California limits noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases to $250,000.00″ That’s not a whole lotta cash if a doctor screws up.

        I don’t argue that some doctors and hospitals are notorious for ordering excessive and expensive tests, however the profit motive is not necessarily malpractice, it’s reimbursement.

        • BL

          Doctors order excessive tests for reimbursement?
          Maybe you could find a case or two, but not often…
          more likely:
          They do every test possible to avoid Malpractice lawsuits!
          …and to provide the best possible care to their patients…

          I know a lot of docs and have never met one who would order a stool sample just to make a buck….

          That’s really a pretty horrible accusation that our pres has been perpetrating….uberbox is on to it.

          • ryan

            It may be horrible, but the fact remains is that it is probably quite accurate.

            • Stephen

              I’m not trying to be nasty, but you don’t know very many health care professionals, do you?

              • ryan

                I know many. I know many good, honest professionals, and I also know many unethical bastards.

                I like groups a, I don’t like group b, but I acknowledge they exist.

      • uberbox

        First, the healthcare system here is not “broken”. In fact we have the best system in the world as far as quality of coverage. Expensive, yes. In need of reform? Absolutely.

        Tort reform is going to be one of the keys to reducing the cost for our health insurance. In a sue happy country (Yamaha Rhino ring any bells), doctors and hospitals have to pay huge premiums in insurance coverage to cover the costs of being sued. This in turn gets passed on to us.

        My issue with ObamaCare is that it will simply create yet another inefficient, corrupt Government Bureaucracy. Lets not be so naive as to think otherwise.

        • ryan

          Hate to break it to you, but americas system of health care is NOT world leading. Its not even close.

          BL, and you wonder why the world has the opinion that americans are all as deluded, pig headed and blind…..

    • Shrike

      I second this sentiment. I’m pretty tired of people on either side of this debate who have not actually read the damn bill making authoritative remarks. If you have not read the bill from cover to cover, do us all a favor and STFU. If you have read it then I, and the rest of the people who actually care and are not just passing the time, welcome your input.

  • Matt

    Thanks for the heads up on the AMA’s take on the current health care discussion. I have been self employed for over 30 years now and even longer as a motorcyclist. For a small business person like myself health insurance is a huge headache. I’m beginning to wonder why Americans can’t get it together with health care. Must be the same reason we can’t build a competitive race bike or run a race series. Thanks Wes.

  • johnc

    @ Jefferson –

    yup … and in addition to that bunch of whacky motorcyclists, it would seem that a lot of cagers are drinking the stuff too.

  • Sasha Pave

    Oh thank God I wasn’t the only one pissed off by this message from the AMA. They shouldn’t force such a polarizing political issue and attempt to sway us through the rhetoric of fear.

    I believe their underlying intention is worthy: Don’t allow a gov. health care policy to include language which is prejudice towards bikers.

    But the way they framed the email was through ‘personal freedom’ and ‘less government’ rhetoric. Stuff better left for town-hall crashers.

    Thanks Wes!

  • Ben(pi)

    Does anyone know of a motorcycle insurance company that covers medical under full coverage?

  • Eric

    “What’s being proposed by President Obama and various members of Congress isn’t a European-style government-run healthcare system…”

    Who cares even if it WAS.

    Tons of people all over Europe ride motorcycles and scooters and such even with their (supposedly horribly evil) government-run healthcare systems.

  • James Legg

    I’m not trying to stir up trouble, or act like a condescending arsehole about European health care systems (I’ve spent time in an NHS hospital and our system has it’s flaws) I do find it astounding that US citizens have to pay for things like ambulance rides and emergency health care. And I had no idea that health insurance didn’t cover you for higher risk activities. All I’m saying is when I come off and break something I want to be concentrating on the pain and the best way to wimper like a 5 year old and not worrying about the medical bill.

    • BL

      so, who should pay for the time of the EMT’s, the Ambulance, the medical supplies…etc?

      just “someone else” i guess.

      “US citizens have to pay for things like ambulance rides and emergency health care.”

      you are a fkn idiot if you think you’re not paying for it one way or another ya condescending euro fk.

      • Wes Siler

        Let’s keep this civil please.

        While citizens of countries with universal health care do obviously “pay” for medical and medical-related services through taxes, their overall tax burden isn’t considerably higher, if at all, than ours as a result. I’ve also experienced a considerably higher quality of care in countries like France than I have here, but my experience is by no means comprehensive.

        Regardless, this isn’t a discussion about universal healthcare because that’s not what’s on the table here.

      • James Legg

        >just “someone else” i guess.

        Yeah of course I am paying for it – but I’m not having to worry about paying for it after it happens, or if i’m covered and I’m going to landed with a bill because my insurance company won’t cover it. And I will get scrapped of the road and put back together as best they can in A&E even if I’m out of work, not paying taxes because I earn such a pitiful amount or I’m a student supporting myself on two jobs while I get a degree. I imagine when you hit the ground thats quite a comforting thought.

        • AadmanZ`

          Long story deleted..

          Condescending Euro fk baffled by looking at discussion about US health care system from far away.

          Happy to know that chopper rides are covered in our socialist paradise.

  • uberbox

    Also, you want to talk about fear tactics?

    How about when Obama was recently in New Hampshire and basically said that Doctors would rather amputate the foot of a diabetic then help them become healthier because they make more money off an amputation?

    The American College of Surgeons issued a statement soon after about how they were “deeply disturbed over the uninformed public comments President Obama continues to make about the high-quality care provided by surgeons in the United States.”

    And we are to trust Obama to make things better?

  • M.P.

    Reform = good. Crap they are trying to pass=bad. We need TORT reform more than any health care “reform”. I love how they say there are $500B in savings in Medicare. That means they have been mismanaging Medicare to the tune of $500B. Another fine, efficient job by our government. As for the so called public ‘option’…how is it an option if I’m forced to pay taxes that get spent on this program regardless if I use it or not?

  • Rich

    BL – I fear you are incredibly naive. Many physicians (or groups) own their own imaging centers. They prescribe an MRI to be done at a place they either own, or are partners in.

    As to the issue of tort reform, it is an unfounded assertion. We have stringent malpractice liability limits here in Texas, and insurance costs have not dropped nor has their rate of increase slowed. I can’t find any empirical evidence that shows it does anything to reduce costs.

    And no, we don’t have the best medical system in the world. Watch this and be educated –

    Cheers – Rich

  • hoyt

    The situation in our Emergency Rooms is just one many examples why we need reform & more healthcare for all. ERs are being treated as thousands of people’s doctor’s office. It is taking its toll on those critical staff :

    When I arrived at the ER (due to a low-side caused by fine gravel in the middle of a corner), the attending staff was clearly not “in the game” and the message from the EMTs about a moto accident did not register with them…

    - the attending Doc asked why I was back-boarded if I was on a bicycle. (meanwhile, my helmet and leather were sitting beside me, and, so what if I was on a bicycle? Bicyclists could suffer head/neck injuries)

    - I had to ask for X-rays and remind them to clean my open wounds (Kevlar jeans didn’t stop sliding-friction wounds)

    The doc came back and said, “It’s a good thing you were persistent because you do have a fractured wrist…we get people coming into the ER when the wind blows the wrong way” (paraphrasing)

    Read the Healthcare bill?

    I read the the infamous “Death Panel” bullshit section starting on page 425 several times. It is unbelievable that conservatives would perpetuate such fiction. Embarrassing.

    Until this partisan crap stops, the Feds will not get anything accomplished. Isn’t it ironic that Palin, who spewed McCain’s ability to work across the aisle during the campaign, would be one of the most uninformed and most vocal about this “Death Panel” ? Or is she that pathetic? This undoubtedly contributed to the screaming town halls. For what? Partisan politics instead of serving the American people by working together for reform we know we all need.

    My comprehensive moto insurance does not include Personal Injury Protection on my bike, but it does for my car. My agent suggested I buy Hospital coverage. Something to look into if you do not have medical insurance through work. Not ideal, but could help in the interim.


    Libs please.. Get life insurance and see what questions they ask. The hate I see in Connecticut for riders is amazing. Libs hate anything that is not green. They cringe when they see Harleys and ATVs. They will use health care to shut us down by making riding an insurance hazard. AMA has seen millions of acres of land scooped up by green communists. They are just predicting the future. Obama is sinking. Long live freedom.

    You libs must be pissed that soo many people know you are limp wrist chumps.

    • Matthew

      Turnersville, with all your generalizations you sound just like a person that doesn’t actually talk to any liberals. Just like all the liberals that don’t talk to any conservatives. As was said before, keep it civil.

      Back on topic: I just sent the AMA an email telling them to stop being partisan and try working with the legislators to make sure that our interests are cover when the legislation is drafted. Too many people are 100% for or against this in the abstract and don’t know a thing about it. Try working together and finding common ground instead of being so freaking extremist.

      Send your representatives an email with your AMA number and concerns. Send the AMA an email with the names of your representatives and concerns. Be proactive and educate yourselves or keep your opinions quiet.

    • klaud

      TURNERSVILLE: Thanks for oversimplifying the situation with hyperbole. The fact is that there are plenty on rational motorcycle enthusiasts from both sides of the aisle. I am definitely left-leaning, but an avid offroader and motorcyclist. That is not mutually exclusive, except in the minds of extremist right AND left wingers. Extremism is the problem, not liberalism. The AMA is flat wrong in the potential risk to motorcyclists, and should focus their concern on sanctioning motorycle events, and legislation directly related to riding.

  • Justin Penney

    Wes, thanks for the heads up on this.

    Earlier this year I had a low side that resulted in a broken thumb. Even months after the wreck I still get the odd bill from a hospital, doctors group or imaging center. They will resubmit claims and the insurance company will pay a little bit, but not all. It’s very frustrating for something that was as simple as an x-ray, a splint and a follow up x-ray.

  • Stephen


    Actually, our tax rates are fairly low compared to other countries, especially those whose health care systems are mentioned whenever health care is debated.

    I’m not sure exactly how much money is spent on health care by each country; however, I believe those amounts to be much higher than what our country spends.

    • Rich

      Stephen – we spend more as a percentage of GDP than any other industrialized nation in the world.

      That data is a few years old and I saw a report the other day that shows our expenditures have increased to over 16% of our GDP. We also rank fairly low in terms of overall health among western nations. We have great doctors and medical universities – maybe the best. But our delivery system is horrible.

      I’m sorry, but when people have to declare personal bankruptcy due to medical expenses, something is wrong. And many of the people who do, actually have insurance. That’s screwed up.

      • Stephen


        First, I don’t disagree with those figures. However, I think some context is necessary. That percentage of GDP is not limited to healthcare delivery; it includes all spending, like research expenditures. The US leads the world in medical research, particularly in pharmaceuticals. While several countries make noteworthy advances in medicine, such as the UK, France and Japan, the bulk of medical innovation comes from the US.

        Second, Americans tend toward poor health outcomes not because of our healthcare system but because of our lifestyle. Even if we had universal health care, our poor diet and lack of exercise would still keep us behind other industrialized nations.

        Finally, yes, I agree health care costs too much in the country. My original post on this topic listed two ways costs could be reduced (revocation of insurance industry antitrust exemption, tort reform). I also think there should be more focus on preventative medicine rather than reactive medicine.

  • Shrike

    Edit to above post. I’m seconding the sentiment of BL where he asks if “you” have read the actual bill.

  • Botswana Meat Commission FC

    I just don’t want us to end up like Europe… where you see fucking GRANNIES riding around on scooters and you can’t go 15 feet without seeing a motorcycle.

    The Great EU Motorcycle Ban of 1965 was terrible!

  • Gildas


    Just checked my paycheck to see how much health insurance I pay.

    573,99 Euros. And that is with extra coverage for comfort stuff (single bed, cappucino etc) for the peace lovin’ surrender monkey that loves freedom fries that this euro fk is. Translated into “Me pay not much and me french” for the braindead townhall shoutin’ an’ holorin’ masses.

    That’s 823 Dollars, US. And I get full coverage for ALL medical stuff. From the flu to injuries related to riding a bike in a clown’s suit in an butchers. EVERYTHING.

    Now it seems my american friends (I have a few and they are not all west coast hippies) pay around 1000 to 1400 per month, and anything over mups, measles and bum rash is not covered…

    I’m no fk socialist, but I’ve refused many a good job offer in the US because of not needing damocles sword of “what if” over my head. I have an active lifestyle (sports and women)so I will fall over something or sprain my dick sonner or later. I will need coverage.

    Last december I had a head on with a scooter – happy to be alive – broke a leg and was on leave for a month. My salary was paid in FULL and I paid NOTHING, not a single thing. Evil socialists, i presume, did this… We have only had a right wing for the last 16 years.

    And saying that a US gvt agency cannot run healthcare is a falacy – check your military (but Walter Reed showed that even the best sometimes get complacent).

    G – a Proud yet Baffled euro fk.

    • AadmanZ`

      Hilarious comment.. Sounds very similar to what we have over here in Holland.

  • carlos

    whoa, great conversations going on, but i’m still just a bit baffled by the following statement…

    “A good friend of mine currently pays $1,200 a month for health insurance in New York”.

    holly crap! Is this a type-o? for real? that’s almost my whole paycheck. it’s equivalent to a mortgage! Is he paying for it all by himself? Does he have an employer? I have FEHB insurance (for gov. employees) and i was complaining about $180. never again!

    Ok, and just real quick. We have a system already in place that’s just like this government run, single payer system that’s proposed. We call it TRICARE. The military has had for at least over 2 decades( at least the past 10 years i’ve been in). I just had a motorcycle wreck (at the track even) and I used it. It’s great. For my ambulance, hospital stay, drugs, x-rays, stitches, all covered. All i’ve owed so far was about 45 dollars. and the craziest part? Every tax payer has been paying into this insurance already. If you look it up, i’m sure you can see how this system already parallels the single payer proposal.

    • Grant Ray

      Carlos, 4 months ago Aetna told me my monthly payment would be raising 30% to around $1,450.00 for single-person full coverage in the state of NY. It may have been a little more, but I can’t recall. There was no explanation. It was for the POS referral plan, which they neglected to bother telling me how it worked in the first place, so my first visit still came out of pocket. Full cost.

      Needless to say, I was forced to cancel. The telephone agent didn’t seem concerned at all.

  • UK rider

    I am an English rider, been riding bikes for 30 years and I raced for ten years some years ago. During my racing career I broke both ankles, three wrists, both collarbones, trashed one knee, had multiple concussions etc etc, all racing in the UK. And I never had to pay a cent to have any of those injuries expertly fixed by the NHS (National Health Service). I always received the best possible attention from kind and generous doctors and nurses, plus, of course, the occasional ‘tut tut’ for having smashed myself up for no particular reason. I cannot think how anyone wouldn’t want that kind of service in their own country.

  • Rashomon

    The AMA is very reasonable to be wary of healthcare “reform.” Social cost arguments have become the leading wedge for helmet laws, for example, and, as health care costs go up rather than down under the Obama reforms, more cost savings will be sought. Motorcycling will be one of the fatter targets of this, as the general public already thinks of motorcyclists as thrill-seeking nuts. This is definitely a slippery slope.

  • Gildas

    Insane argument. We have universal healthcare and what you drive is not taken into account. Be it roller skates or a Leclerc main battle tank.

    Yes, that’s healthcare. Not the loOny tunes health scam you have right now.

    It’s just that instead of buying some insaly rich healthcare profiter a new mega yatch, you will be paying a goverment agency, even if not perfect, will give money back to you, when you get injured, be it by Diet Coke overdose or by missing an apex.

    None of that “no we will not pay for cesearian because you are a red head, and that is a preexisting ya da da, hey, we fked ya HAHAHAHA and dont forget to give us more money for nothin’”.

  • Paul

    It really comes down to whether you trust the health care industry or the goverment to look out for your best interests. Frankly, I don’t trust either one. What has worked for me for the last 30 years is Kaiser-Permanente. I know that some folks have had bad experiences with them, but maybe I’ve been lucky so far.
    BTW Wes, which fire scorched California road were you on when you went down?

  • Kidchampion

    Annual spending on health care divided by citizen, in US dollars:

    USA: $6,000+

    Switzerland: $4,000+

    UK: $2,500

    WHO ratings for each country: UK #18 best in the world, Swizterland #20, USA #37. The current reform proposals are more in line with the Swiss system. Those numbers are an embarrassment unless you think paying more for less quality and satisfaction is somehow desirable, or justifiable.

  • BL

    @ Kidchamp: there are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics. That study’s ranking system is biased. Check US cancer survival rates.

    @Wes: You’re right. Back to the AMA, they claim in their Action Alert that HIPPA issued a rule allowing insurers to deny health benefits for an otherwise covered injury that results from certain types of recreational activities, such as skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling or motorcycling.

    but when i checked HIPPAA laws, i found the opposite to be true.
    What up with that AMA? Did the AMA actually do something there?

    love you condescending euro fks!

  • Ben

    Oh crap, that was the can labeled WORMS. :P

    Love the post. I’m very interested to see how all of this plays out. The system is absolutely messed up across the board.

    Hell, my current employer is playing off our plan (which has over $1000 out of pocket for anything before insurance kicks in) as a good thing because it encourages us to be smart consumers of health care and, by doing so, we will help correct systemic problems. The logic of which seems as sound as docking my pay 20% because gas prices are high, but c’est la vie.

  • Gildas

    Feel real euro fk condenscending love, makes a change from that unwanted pain in the posterior love the working american has been on the receiving end since Reagan “made you all rich”.

    Maybee AMA should lobby for sexier nurses for bikers…


  • MTGR

    Part of the problem with getting the health reform passed has been bills so convoluted and vague that even the people who write these things for a living can’t understand what is or is not being proposed. Considering that and the way kids motorcycles suddenly got wrapped up and banned due to nothing more than poor wording in the “lead in toys” bill, I think the AMA has every right to be nervous about the protection of our motorcyclists rights. Competition is one thing, but all insurance companies are driven by their bottom line and like it or not motorcycles are considered a risk that might lead to more payouts on their part. Normally I am not a fan of the AMA and tend to agree with this site on most issues, but here I think the AMA has an obligation to take this stance at this time.

  • Ian

    This is the first motorcycle post on this subject which wasn’t full of a bunch of scare tactics. Thank you. Our health care system sure is broken, my son was in a car accident last fall, I was supposed to have a $1700 deductible by the time the dust settled I was out $10K. Every single person who saw him from the ambulance until he was out I got a bill from. Both ER doctors, nothing was included in the hospital bill, except room and board and nurses. The stack of bills was 2″ think. Of course none of doctors employed by the hospital were “preferred suppliers of my insurance company”.

    I’m a self employed republican and I am so pissed at them right now, all their retoric about socialized medicine when they are getting health care at goverment hostipals, paid for at goverment expense, talk about a bunch of hypocritics. You want to fix our health care system make every single member of congress have to buy insurance on the individual market out of their own pocket.

    • hoyt


      Rep. McDermott is (i think) one of the congressman who is not using the gov’t. healthcare (

      It is time every US citizen expects the Feds to work together for productive results. Individual states can work within more partisan extremes because, demographically, the states’ constituents are already basically aligned. On a national level, we are collectively just right & left of center depending on the topic. We must accept & expect compromise, otherwise, it is an appalling waste of your money & time.

  • BL

    G you seem very confused, you say that you pay 579 euros per check for health care, then one paragraph later say that you pay NOTHING. The only posterior pain I have is from people who think socialism can be successful and should be implemented in america.

    James, you make a point……rest easy knowing that your government will take care of you…

    Rich, would you want to run an auto shop without a hoist?
    Where are docs meant to refer people for MRI’s…?
    I understand the argument you’re trying to make, but that’s pretty weak “proof”

    Ryan, I’ve met a lot of physicians, and without exception, their priority has been patient care…even if they are assholes

    • Gildas Dubois

      BL, old boy, get your head out of that S&S engine block for a sec… If you had read with intent to understand, but all the shaking from that hardtail has probably loosened your frontal lobe, i pointed to the fact that I pay X amount, and THEN pay nothin’ for coverage when some red neck kisses me with his tractor trailer…

      In the US you pay far more and yet get no coverage the day you need it.

      You are getting suckered, yet somehow defend it… You must like “gettin it hard”… Hum, maybe ya’all repablican’ want to tell us somethin’?

      They must put something in those Miller long necks…


    • amsterdam

      I guess Ian left you with nothing to say.
      BL your full of BS.

      …to provide coverage, but not benefits when injured while riding a motorcycle…
      you guys are fked.
      Change you need.
      An don’t call us condesc. fk.s please.

      Gildas your hilarious.

    • Rich

      BL – read this. It’s an article written by a surgeon at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

  • Kidchampion

    Wes, I just looked at that photo. Did you really have a guy with a reflector making sure your lighting looked good, while the EMTs did their work? Is he your valet?

    • Wes Siler

      A guy’s gotta look good!

      The guys I was riding with had it with them and were using it to provide shade for me, it was hot that day.

  • Matthew

    This is the AMA’s response to my email from this morning:

    Thank you for using the “Contact Us” feature at to inquire about the AMA’s action alert regarding the various health care plans under consideration in Congress.

    The AMA has not come out and supported or opposed any health care plan. However, our alert was intended for our members to voice their concerns to their elected officials to keep them in mind when debating any health care bills because of how previous health care-related bills (HIPAA) discriminated against rider enthusiasts. Furthermore, the AMA is working with Congress, with help from its members, to include language in any bill that would not place unneeded prohibitions, limitations, or mandates on rider enthusiasts from enjoying an active lifestyle from either a private or public insurer. Currently, none of the various bills have any language to prevent what happened with the HIPPA legislation from happening again.

    Again, thank you for your comments. If you have any further questions, please contact our Washington Representative, Rick Podliska, at

    Marie Esselstein
    Government Affairs Assistant
    American Motorcyclist Association

  • Ray

    I am getting sick of the AMA’s partisanship and old-school knee-jerk logic. Unelected commissions determine our access to roads, that’s why the AMA is there – to lobby for the interests of motorcyclists. Or should we get rid of public highways too?

  • Shawn

    Fuck it. Your not going to convince anyone one way or the other. So I propose a new plan.

    Don’t wreck your bike. Ever. As long as you never get hurt or sick….. it wont matter. :)

    I’m installing bumper rails on my bike tomorrow. :)

  • Emmet

    It’s always darkest before dawn. The level of lies, misinformation, and political obstruction over healthcare reform is sickening. If it doesn’t get passed, how much hope is there for our democracy that those with money get all the power?

    The AMA’s standpoint on healthcare is frightening to say the least. I will not become a member so long as they oppose a progression to American freedoms.

  • Darren

    DO NOT bring my Miller into this!

  • Peter

    The issues being debated here are exactly what needs to be debated. However, the actual health care bill (or bills) contains much more than simple health care. I want quality care and coverage, I do not want mandatory mental health screenings or enforced psychiatric drugging because I ride a bike, or as in Illinois, because I became pregnant and may get post-partum depression, or because my 5-year old gets antsy in class.
    It’s a human rights issue that has everyone up in arms, not whether our health care system needs reform.

    • Wes Siler

      It looks like the bill that was being proposed in the House isn’t the one that will now be debated and moved forward, so no one, not even Sarah Palin, knows what’s “in” the theoretical final bill. Having said that, there has been no mention from any lawmaker connected to this year’s drive for healthcare reform who has even mentioned anything like enforced “psychiatric durgging” or anything at all like that. All that’s on the table is reform of the laws governing how health insurance companies work. Anything else is pure disinformation and propaganda from the health insurance industry.

  • Peter terHorst

    Hello Wes,

    I read your post regarding the recent AMA Action Alert expressing concern over health care debate, and your statement that the AMA is “opposing reform of our health care system.”

    The AMA is a nonpartisan organization founded to promote and protect the rights of motorcyclists, and has not taken a position on the various health care bills under consideration, or chosen a side in the debate. The alert was intended to provide AMA members an opportunity to voice their concerns to elected officials about keeping the active lifestyle of the riding community in mind when legislation is being drafted.

    AMA members have expressed a great deal of concern that a national plan may limit motorcycle use as a dangerous or risky lifestyle choice that would not be covered in a health plan, or would be unnecessarily cost prohibitive if it were covered. Unfortunately, there is a legislative precedent to consider when debating the “right to ride.”

    The last time the federal government had a chance to amend health care regulations — and how it affects riders — was when Congress passed HIPAA legislation in 1996. The relevant section about motorcycling was supposed to close a loophole that allowed third party insurers to deny coverage to employees simply because they rode a motorcycle. Following five years of interpretation and implementation, the rule was “clarified” administratively to provide coverage, but not benefits when injured while riding a motorcycle. Providing coverage without benefits defeats the entire purpose of insurance.

    This is the kind of interpretation that the AMA seeks to avoid now in any new legislation by anticipating that kind of exclusion before it becomes a reality. As history has shown, going back and cleaning it up afterwards is going to be much harder than addressing the concern in the original bill.

    I hope this clarifies the AMA position for your readers. If you have any questions on this issue for AMA’s government relations staff, please send them to Rick Podiska at rpodliska(at)

    Thanks very much for your time.

    Pete terHorst
    AMA Spokesperson

  • joe witherspoon

    I wrote about the AMA warning in my own blog and was amazed to hear that the largest organization in the country for motorcyclists rights won’t take a stand on the issue of healthcare one way or another, BUT, the AMA has no problem throwing more fuel on the fire of fear.

    The AMA needs to take a stand on this issue and stand behind motorcyclists who are constantly being denied health care coverage based on the fact that they ride a motorcycle and/or have have been to the ER room one too many times as a result of a crash either on the street or on the track.

    The AMA promotes, sanctions and sponsors professional and amateur racing, and rider safety, for American citizens that cannot afford to have comprehensive insurance. We all know of professional and amateur racers who have survived their crashes, only to be hit with impossible health care bills that they end up spending the rest of their lives paying out of their own pockets. You can only have so many donation web sites where racers ask for donations from fans to help pay for their medical bills after they have had a debilitating crash and they are stuck in a rehab for the rest of their lives.

    I own a motorcycle accessories store where I cannot afford to pay my employees’ health coverage and nor can they afford it. I have friends who have been in accidents, who, instead of being able to help pay for a college education, waste their dreams away paying down their medical bills. I have customers and friends in the industry telling me they are being refused health coverage from their employer’s group plans and when the DO eventually get coverage they get it only by keeping their motorcycle riding a secret. That works, as long as they never find out.

    Employers today use the Internet to determine whether or not an employee is worthy of a job. I imagine a day in the future – perhaps it’s already taking place – where health insurance companies will look you up on the web and find out what type of activities you engage in on your free time. Run a motorcycle blog? Forget it, you’re high risk.

    Motorcyclists need health care reform and they need it now and in a big way. They don’t need another lobby group getting in the way of reform, as the AMA is doing.

    The Democrats’ ideas, though only a start in the right direction, are the way to go now. Achieving reform will bring more riders into the sport. I support a public option for all citizens. Bringing health care costs down means consumers have more dollars to spend on motorcycle related goods and services and it keeps riders and racers in the sport instead of hanging up their helmets because they simply cannot afford to participate in a high risk and perfectly legal activity.

    Joe Witherspoon

  • BL

    G I have now read with intent to understand (I like that)

    I understand that you are obsessed with anal.

    I never said we have a perfect setup. I never even said I was against reform. But, I think we’ve all seen how the us govt fks things up and I’m not ready to give them the reigns, I think the AMA gives a good example why not. Now leave me alone I have swine flu

    Ian, I’ve had the bill stack also, it does suck, but whaaaaaaa cry for me, your son got care, you learned that your INS sucks, and you have the freedom to get a better policy, start a health savings, or if they really screwed you, sue them, it’s the American way

    • Gildas Dubois

      BL, if to sue is the only option Americans, especially ones that are facing financial ruin due to health care deficiencies, instead of getting healthy again, then it’s admitting that your system is fk up.

      Big time.

      And I still don’t like pain a much as you, anal or otherwise.

      And I don’t mock people whose son gets injured in a car wreck. Never. I don’t think it’s human or even American. Wake up and act like you have some remnants of humanity. It takes balls to have some humility, even over the internet.

      If you have some nads left, show us, tell us, right here, right now, what policy of what insurance a normal American, with a Normal salary, even if a Republican like Ian, should get. And not cost kidney a month. And be covered for that run O the mill accident his son had.

      Come on! Show us the money.

      And while you are at it, show me ONE, just one National Health Service that denies caree to Bikers, AMA stylin’. And then show me how the Obama Healthcare system is going to go against the Vow of Hyppocrates (you must care for all).

      BL, make me proud. You the man!


      • Estelle

        Do you have a newsletter or fanzine I can subsribe to? Cause I like your style!

        • AadmanZ`

          I wondered the same..

  • will

    We are talking about socialized healthcare, because private insurance companies will not be able to sustain competing with public insurance that doesn’t have to account for running at a constant loss.

    I’m not denying that Holland, Switzerland, Cuba, England, Sweden, Japan or France have efficiently functioning, perfect healthcare systems. I’m quite certain they don’t, but it’s not of any concern to me. I’ve never believed everyone everywhere in every developed country should be governed or provided for the same way, or there is any one solution for them. It doesn’t suit America, it’s not America’s solution, and most importantly, America doesn’t want it.

    America can have at socialized healthcare when it’s proven that it can be run. Right now we have socialized healthcare in the form of medicare and medicaid, but they’re running bankrupt and rife with fraud, with only 5% of claims being audited.

    When America can make these programs work for anyone other than the end-user, I’ll support a public everything.

    $14,400,000,000,000 deficit aside.

  • Gildas

    I’m just a poor lonesome Proud yet Baffled euro fk a long, long way from home… Justa me and this old aluminium hoOorse, we keep a ridin’ aaaAAAalong.

    And I’m a designer so HFL is one off my inspiration pit stops.

    And I’m still waiting for da money BL honey.


  • carlos

    how can i be a euro fk? Need to move. Looking for work in europe? anybody have something? will do windows, babysit, fix fighter jets, work on bikes. anything. just get me out of the stupidity.

  • Gildas

    I’ll get a T shirt done…

  • Gildas

    And give BL his share for “creative input”…

  • Dan

    Cliff notes:
    Govt. involvement in healthcare = socialism = evil
    Coroporations deciding your healthcare = “free” market = good

    For anyone who lives or has lived in a country with public healthcare, don’t try to argue, it falls on deaf ears. It’s not actually a debate about what’s good for people, it’s an idealogical debate about the illusion of a “free” market economy that’s based around people’s myopic self interest.

    Oh, the AMA is a waste of time, for every good thing they do, they balance it out nicely by supporting retarded laws like not having to wear a helmet & wanting to continue the status quo on the horrible licencing structure in the US.

    AMA = American MotorcycleManufacturer’s Association.

  • amsterdam

    I’m sorry to see this post leave the front page.
    Full of content and hilarious discussions at the same time.
    HFL at it’s best.
    BTW Wes is this photo the prequel to that Terminator-picture of your forearm?

    • Wes Siler

      Yep, got the titanium about 8 hours after that photo was taken.

  • Savage

    Thanks for the liberal slant. I have read the 1000 page house proposal, and it does call for a board to be compromised of non government and government officals, all of whom are appointed. This boards responsibility will be to decide what is covered and what isn’t under the public option. Under this set-up, with a system running into massive defecits, could start rationing healthcare. The potential is there, to deny it, is ignorant.

  • BL

    I had a chance to chat with a couple of physicians whom i know, trust, and love over last weekend. These are Obama tee shirt wearing, straight ticket dem voters. I asked about the “excessive and unnecessary testing for profit” issue. The Mcallen TX example was raised. To paraphrase the doctor, “they are using it to paint with very broad strokes” They both however admitted to practicing ‘defensive medicine’ and creating waste due to the threat of malpractice lawsuits.

    G, I have so many issues with your last post…not even sure where to start. First of all Fuck You. If anyone here has a son who has never been in an accident, they need to get out more. That’s what sons do, they crash. It does not shield one from mockery.
    Secondly, Fuck You, I have two grandfathers with shrapnel in their bodies from defending your right to call me un-american.

    Thirdly, no problem, I’ve used blue cross blue shield when i’ve been between jobs, had multiple crashes, been covered, got my 2″ stack of bills paid, and it didn’t cost me more than the policy said it should. And I CHOSE to buy the coverage and i could have dropped it if i couldn’t afford groceries that month. AND i could afford it working very low income jobs.
    I’ve used employer provided health care with with similar results, and i’ve found the rates to be reasonable.
    I’m not one to talk to if you want complaints about private insurance.

    For my 70 dollar a month policy, i had a top surgeon put titanium in my wrist within a week of crashing, and I was able to pay off the residual bills without much trouble on a small amount of income…you never hear that doctors/hospitals will work with you on your bill. They will often work out terms if you commit to paying them at least a little bit every month. You shouldn’t need to go bankrupt.

    G, let me give you a little lesson on US Govt health care, if you’re poor, you’ve got healthcare (medicare) if you’re under 18, you have healthcare (SCHIP) and if you ride motorcycles, you can NOT be discriminated against according to our latest healthcare reform bill HIPAA

    finally: this post was originally about the AMA. I have a renewal notice in my hands…I’ve only joined in the past when it was mandatory for racing, now i’ve let it lapse. the real question, will I renew?

    • Ride NM

      BL, twice now you have posted a link to that faq, but you apparently can’t read for comprehension. Here is a direct quote:

      “However, a plan may exclude coverage for injuries that do not result from a medical condition or domestic violence, such as injuries sustained in high risk activities (for example, bungee jumping). But the plan could not exclude an individual from enrollment for coverage because the individual participated in bungee jumping.”

      Translation for the comprehension-impaired: you can enroll in your employer’s plan if you engage in high risk activities, but (listen closely) THEY DON’T HAVE TO COVER YOUR INJURIES!!!!!!! You file a claim, and they can legally tell you to go piss up a rope.

      BTW, we’d have no nation without the French. Read your history with more comprehension than you read that faq.

  • Gildas

    Your gramps has shrapnel, my gran still has a steel plate in her head after being run over by a Panzer V while American and English bombs destroyed our family house. Then she was stuck in the St Nazaire pocket until after Berlin fell – I don’t ask you to respect me because of my gran. Your arse never helped my gran. The respect your fore fathers earned is not automaticaly extended to you, it’s not a God given, you’ll have to earn it. And go buy a cool one to each of your gramps.

    (And if you want to get all fucking historical cunty about it, and make me back down, with whose military guidance was the War of Independence won? Does Lafayette ring a bell? I probably have a great great great uncle who saved YOU and still has pieces of canister shot in him. Don’t get historical on me – you will lose and this discussion will suffer – because I will never bow down to insipid and worthless non arguments.)

    Back to the real world.

    I still think that condemning your fellow Americans to death is un American. I want Americans to healthy and keep on being a superpower. I don’t want to see their vitality being sucked out by big Healthcare Corps that care more for their value of their stock and their bonus than for their own countrymen. And exclude bikers – because they do in the real world.

    I still think that mocking injured people is wrong. It’s just me having ethics. I know it’s all liberal and un-cool having any.

    You had Titanium for 70 dollars a month? And my American friends are paying more than 1000 for second rate coverage? And they are far from being dumb… So permit me to doubt. If all was fine and dandy, all Americans would be insured and all would be 1950′s rosy and we would not be arguing. So please tell us all how to do it.

    As for Medicaid Medicare, Oh duh, come on man, we all know there is a massive gap between people that are covered with these and those who don’t earn sufficiently to get proper coverage. Personal bankruptcy is their only way out. It’s real.

    If AMA is going all NRA… Then don’t renew.

  • Gildas

    Notice how i refrained from personal insults, yet made my point? Lovely, aint it.


  • BL

    last i checked, there are not 40,000 frenchmen buried on american soil.

    i just ask for some respect for america….i’m tired of the pervading attitude that europe does everything right and america does everything wrong….last i checked you’re just as fkd up as we are, just in different ways…and if you do get historical on it, your country has done some crazy stuff in it’s long past…

    earn sufficiently to get proper coverage…yep, i would like to see more reasonable rates for good coverage and if they can reform to make JUST that happen, i’m all for it….if only it were that simple.

    And yeah, 70 bucks a month for basic “catastrophic coverage” (I am young and age plays a large role in price) a couple thousand in bills afterwards in a stack 2″ high…yeah it was a pain in the ass, but everything worked the way it should work according to the policy…they covered about 85% of the accident.

    sorry about the personal insult, it was more of a friendly fuck you than it read….besides, saying fuck you is a lot less personal than calling someone unamerican, immoral, and unethical…so i guess you didn’t really refrain, did you?

    you have no point, no context, you’re not american, so until you Obams and you EU bastards get your full world government and full world currency going, you have no say other than on blogs and tariffs.

  • Gildas

    You don’t understand mate…

    I want a good strong america…

    I love american made tools, Park Tools, Leatherman etc… And that’s what I buy. I want to be able to get an Indian one day… American made work clothes are the best. And the latest bunch of american cars make me sweat. Jay Leno’s Garage is my idea of porn. And OCC is a great comic relief. My next bycicle is a FELT, made in the USA and I do work (in part) for SLIPSTREAM, an american cycling team. I just lack the star spangled pubic hair.

    I just tired that the guys who do all these get shafted, in part, by these megacorp criminal institutions. What these criminals do is punishable by jail in most countries – and you just say ‘its the american way”…

    I want the american worker to get a good pay and good work like in the 40′s, 50′s and 70′s. Before these arseholes started plucking the goose that lays the golden eggs. I’m not talking Stalinism but Rooseveltism here.

    Understand that Europe desperatly needs a strong and fit US of A, and you guys need Europe. Including us, the baguette chomping douchebags, as a strategic partner that does not want to rule you (China), or wants a crazy imbalanced import/ export ratio (japan)…


  • Gildas

    And you are probably not more than 4 to 6 generations to “you’re not american” thus not granted the right to think or have insight.

    Like this euro fk.

  • Gildas

    Here is a good explanation. Does not seem the communist socialist nazi wonderland that some fear…


  • Gildas

    Mass Murder: 45,000 Americans Killed Every Year By Health Insurance Industry – But it’s cool, caus’ we can sue.

  • Rick

    Gee As someone whom always has cheap or free health care I ve don’t understand what the problem is. YOUR JAIL ARE FULL OF PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS. People whom in Canada whom get the treatment they need long before they end up there. 4 grand for meds or 120 grand a year for Jail. I remember the Tow truck driver in Wa. telling me about repeatedly puking up blood but cant go to get treatment. The woman whom got ding 50 grand for 1 week in Hospitable. To me it’s simple when a 17 year get’s kicked off her plan for pimples because it turns out to be skin cancer and is going to die. Your health system is sick and sucks. Canada, Britain, France and Yep even the old evil Cuba(Free) do it better then USA. Some of hero fire fighters from 911 whom are sick can’t get treatment as seen in the movie Sicko. When it comes to health care for you needy the USA has failed. What do you pay? The most a month anyone in this land of 40 Million pay a month is 150 for a big family and 50 bucks for a single person. No one ever gets turn away even if they haven’t paid per month. They even can back date it to the day they got sick. A 17 year old left to die from skin caner and the family left with a back dated bill of 50 grand, not here, not ever.

    As for anyone whom want to put me down as a Canadian for saying this, telling me to go home. I say you sir don’t know much about the world outside your doors do you?! We want the USA to be strong to. No one is putting the USA down. It’s just not having access to health care cost you far to much. What happen in 15 years to your old people whom can’t pay the cost? What happens to you future if the people can’t have one with health? How many jobs lost do to illness? How many needlessly homeless ? So far to many. The only thing to fear is that it well be badly run without controls or the means to deal with that.