As many of us have pointed out for years, only a small (15 to 25%), declining and unrepresentative number of physicians belong to the despicable AMA.
In fact, despite the AMA position, 59% of physicians support "government legislation to establish national health insurance"!
Importantly, most physicians do belong to and actually identify with their national specialty groups: Am. College of Physicians for Internists, Am. Academy of Pediatrics, AAFP, and to their subspecialty groups. Many physicians also belong to their state and county medical societies, all without belonging to the AMA!
Many of these groups have endorsed Single Payer and/or the HCAN principles.
Now that the AMA has made their position, the other 80% of organized medicine needs to make its voice heard LOUDER and more ACTIVELY!
Yes, on the one hand:
Yes, the current AMA membership figure is no higher than 27% and may be as low as 15%, especially when one counts only active practicing physicians and not retirees.
The fact that the AMA does not want to talk about their membership figures pretty much tells the story.
It is disproportionately in the center and south of the country.
It is disproportionately surgeons.
It has been steadily declining, to its current small minority status.
But most of America does not know this.
They still think that AMA represents us.
Yes, some physician and health organizations have endorsed real reform with Single Payer:
While PNHP has only 17,000 members as of 2009, it has grown from 12,000 just two years ago.
By far, the biggest of these is the ACP, which represents Internists.
Also, National Medical Association (NMA: the black alternative to AMA going back to segregation days), American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA: created because AMA did not like women either), and American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
Of course many other national health organizations have also done these endorsements: the American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, the National Association of Social Workers, etc.
And of course a long list have endorsed HCAN’s principles for at least a medium version of public option, but much better than the AMA/AHIP position. Among these, in addition to the American College of Physicians, is my own American Academy of Pediatrics and my wife’s American Academy of Family Physicians, and many others.
But most of America does not know this.
They still think the AMA represents us.
So now that the AMA has made their position loud and clear, endorsement resolutions by the rest of organized medicine are not enough.
The other 80% of organized medicine needs to make its voice heard LOUDER and more ACTIVELY!
We need to make our voice heard above the false impression that the AMA represent American physicians, when that organization and it leadership do not.
PS: As for me, I remain a member or fellow of:
- American Academy of Pediatrics;
- American Public Health Association;
- American College of Epidemiology;
- Society for Epidemiologic Research;
- Academy Health
...and of course Physicians for a National Health Program
PPS: AMA was actually, briefly a progressive organization favoring universal health insurance, along the German model... during Progressive period, roughly 1906 to early 1920s when post-World War I red scares led to takeover by reactionary forces. In addition, to Ronald Numbers' 1978 book, Almost Persuaded: American Physicians and Compulsory Health Insurance, 1912-1920, there is an online slideshow (with great documents and cartoons) about America's 100 year fight for universal health coverage available by clicking here. online slideshow (with great documents and cartoons) about America's 100 year fight for universal health coverage available by clicking here.
I hate to give the AMA website any traffic, but they do have the handiest and most complete listing of the specialty medical societies that most physicians do belong to and identify with.
Also there are the State medical societies (and below that, county medical societies). These tend to be more political and fiduciary oriented than the professional societies, and often (but not always) have some ties to the AMA and often (but not always) tend to be more conservative