AMA Med Students Back State Laws to Achieve Universal Health Care

OpEd News: Life Arts Nov. 18, 2014

My guest today is second-year medical student, Brad Zehr. Welcome to OpEdNews, Brad. Something very interesting happened at the AMA (American Medical Association) recently. What can you tell us about it?

BZ: The Medical Student Section of the AMA adopted a resolution at the Interim AMA meeting in Dallas expressing support for innovative state legislation to achieve universal health care, including but not limited to single-payer health insurance. The reason this policy item was particularly high-profile and groundbreaking was because it is the first instance of any section of the AMA adopting policy in support of single-payer health insurance. Although the Medical Student Section (MSS) is only one of ten sections of the AMA, and although this resolution pertains only to the MSS and not the full AMA, the resolution signals a generational shift in organized medicine's approach to health care reform.

Historically, the AMA has explicitly opposed any forms of single-payer, including opposition to the creation of U.S. Medicare in 1965. The AMA House of Delegates (HOD), which is the highest policy-making body of the AMA and includes representation from all of the AMA sub-sections and from state medical societies and medical specialty societies, still has three policies stating express opposition to single-payer health insurance in the U.S. The MSS boldly voiced support for single-payer despite the HOD's continued hypersensitivity to single-payer.