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.More ...