American Medical Association is warming up to single payer after decades-long opposition

Amanda Michelle Gomez

Amanda Michelle Gomez Health Reporter, Think Progress

The American Medical Association (AMA) — one of the nation’s most powerful health groups — is warming up to policy ideas that expand the role of government-run health care, thanks to activists trying to change minds from the inside.  

Every year, the country’s largest physician group hosts a meeting to discuss its priorities. The top-line from this year’s annual conference is that the organization will continue its support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while still opposing single-payer health care. “The ACA should be strengthened, not abandoned,” said the AMA, summarizing the conference on its website.

But on Tuesday, the AMA nevertheless came close to eliminating its decades-long position against single payer, or a system where everyone gets health care through one insurer run by the federal government. A day before, the AMA agreed to study public option approaches, where the federal government would expand access to existing public plans while leaving private plans alone. The growing support within AMA to at least neutralize its long-held position on the matter presents something of an internal tension, as the group is part of a coalition of organizations which are actively lobbying against these kinds of policies.

The AMA did not respond for comment.

The House of Delegates, the policy-making body within the more than 200,000 member organization, rejected a resolution introduced by the AMA’s own student caucus to put an end to its current stance on single payer. Many dismissed the vote as just another rebuke to Medicare for All, but it was the closest single-payer activists ever came to changing AMA’s position; the vote was 292 to 254, or 53% to 47%. Activists intend to try again.

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Take Action! Tell Congress to Support the Transit Infrastructure Vehicle Security Act

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

We've written fairly extensively about the threat that Chinese state-owned companies like the China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) and Build Your Dreams (BYD) pose to both good-paying jobs and our national security. AAM President Scott Paul even testified about it at a Congressional hearing a few weeks back.

Now you have a chance to weigh in!

In case you need to catch up, here's the deal. CRRC and BYD are owned and controlled by the Chinese government, which is seeking to systematically drive competitors out of the market and create a monopoly in both the rail (CRRC) and bus (BYD) production markets. CRRC has severely underbid competitors for contracts to build railcars in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, while BYD has nabbed contracts in Los Angeles and Albuquerque. 

China's goal isn't to make money, as companies that operate in a free and open market would. Rather, it wants to completely take over the entire production of America's rail and bus systems as part of its "Made in China 2025" plan. This, of course, creates a number of national security risks — from potential spying on passengers to hacking into transit systems — as well as big economic worries, as there are currently 90,000 good-paying jobs in the U.S. that depend on transit production.

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Union Proud: A Coonversation with Pride@Work Executive Director Jerame Davis

Elizabeth Warren Is Right on Currency Values

Dean Baker

Dean Baker Co-Director, Author, Center for Economic and Policy Research

Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to raise the value of the Chinese yuan and other currencies against the dollar is not getting good reviews in the media from economists. As can be expected, some of the arguments are pretty strange.

As the usually astute Noah Smith tells it in his Bloomberg piece, the problem with the trade deficit is:

“U.S. consumers are consistently living beyond their means, which seems unsustainable.”

The implication is that if the trade deficit were lower than we would be forced to cut back consumption. But the major problem the United States has faced over the last decade, according to many economists, is “secular stagnation,” which is an obscure way of saying, not enough demand.

Contrary to what Smith tells us, U.S. consumers are not living beyond their means, rather we actually need them to spend more money to bring the economy to full employment. To be more precise, we need them to spend more in the domestic economy, to increase demand here as opposed to in our trading partners. (We can also bring the economy to full employment by having the government spend more money on things like health care or a green new deal.)

Smith also disagrees with Warren’s mechanism for getting the dollar down, which involves a mixture of negotiations and threats of countervailing measures. The idea is that the biggest actor is China, who for some reason it is assumed would never agree to raise the value of its currency. CNN raises similar concerns. This view seems badly off the mark.

First, it is assumed in both pieces that China is no longer acting to deliberately keep down the value of the yuan against the dollar, even though most economists now concede that it deliberately depressed the value of its currency to maintain large trade surpluses in the last decade. (They did not acknowledge China’s currency management at the time.)

It is wrong to claim that China is not now acting to keep down the value of the yuan. While it is no longer buying large amounts of dollars and other currencies, it holds a stock of more than $3 trillion in reserves, which is well over $4 trillion if we add in its sovereign wealth fund.

This huge stock of foreign assets has the effect of depressing the value of the yuan against the dollar in the same way that the Fed’s holding of more than $3 trillion is assets helps to keep down interest rates. While few economists question that the Fed’s holding of assets leads to lower long-term rates than would otherwise be the case, they seem to deny that China’s holding of a large stock of foreign assets has similar effects in currency markets.

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10 American-Made Father’s Day Gifts Your Dad Will Love

From the AAM

Father’s Day is the day of the year when we get to celebrate and thank all the dads, granddads, and other folks across the country who hold a special place in our hearts. If you are looking for a special way to celebrate your dad — and also support job creation and American makers — check out our list of 10 U.S.-made gift ideas, compiled by AAM's own Luke Ferguson and Joseph Swindal.

1. Allen Edmonds 

Is your dad in need of a new wardrobe? Check out Allen Edmonds, a U.S.-based manufacturer founded in Belgium, Wis. by Elbert W. Allen. To this day, Allen Edmonds is committed to creating quality, carefully-made products all across America. Although the company is most known for its high-quality shoes, it also sells a variety of American-made shirts, ties, and belts. Your dad will be the talk of the barbeque with an Allen Edmonds outfit; check out their Father's Day sale for big savings.

2. Craftsman Tools

That’s right, you’re reading it correctly: Craftsman is back, better, and Made in the USA! Stanley Black and Decker bought Craftsman in 2017 and immediately got to work moving the manufacturing of the well-known tools back to the United States. Likewise, they have regenerated their previously respected name. Although not everything in its line is made locally, Craftsman offers a variety of American-made tools any father would love to have. Whether it’s an addition to his shed or his workshop in the garage, Craftsman has got the tool that will help your father get the job done!

3. Cutco Knives

Knives are essential everyday items that prove to be great Father's Day gifts. Cutco is a knife company based in Olean, N.Y. and is committed to manufacturing all of their products in America — and by members of the United Steelworkers! The company sells kitchen knives, hunting knives, pocket knives —you name it. . 

4. Gibson Guitars

Is your father musically gifted? If so, this is the perfect gift idea for you! Gibson Guitars have been manufacturing some of the highest quality guitars in America since 1903. Based out of Nashville, Tenn., the famed company produces every variety of guitars you could imagine, all Made in the USA. Whether your dad likes to rock out on an electric guitar, or play some classic country tunes on an acoustic, Gibson offers the perfect guitar for you while maintaining a standard of American-made products.

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