What is the Purpose of the American Medical Association or AMA?

You might say the American Medical Association or AMA is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for healthcare. The AMA represents doctors across the nation on issues like health insurance and medical legislation. Their membership includes MDs, ODs and medical students. They have been a key voice on issues like the Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA or Obamacare, and recently they’ve even taken a stand on abortion laws. Your birth certificate? Partly thanks to them. Diet guidelines? You can thank them for that too.

A Brief History

The AMA was founded in 1847 with the mission to promote medical science and improve public health, and they’ve been busy ever since. Their efforts to educate on issues like patent medication paid off with the Drug Importation Act of 1848, and soon the organization turned their focus to exposing “quack” remedies. Other early efforts included pushing for recognition of qualified female doctors, as well as calling for mandatory smallpox vaccines and product warning labels for harmful chemicals like lye.

Later, the AMA recognized alcoholism as a disease, encouraging doctors and medical facilities to accept them for treatment. In the 1960s The American Medical Association initially opposed Medicare, fighting against it with “Operation Coffee Cup”. The AMA has since shifted to support it and has stated they are against any cuts or reduction in care. In 2007, they started a campaign to promote coverage of uninsured citizens. They also came out in vocal support of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in 2009. In 2017, the AMA opposed the American Health Care Act, objecting to flat tax credits and Medicare rollbacks, warning that millions could have their healthcare access reduced or eliminated.

Fun fact: in 2019, all the top elected officials of the American Medical Association were women!

What Are They up to Now?

The AMA is still fighting for your rights as patients and doctors today. They provide over $1,000,000 annually to needy medical students. In July of 2019, the AMA sued North Dakota over two abortion-related laws, stating that requiring doctors to give false information made doctors into “mouthpieces for the state” and commit ethical violations to follow the law. They’re also trying to keep your doctor informed about the Covid-19 outbreak, including how to safely treat you and ease your concerns.

The American Medical Association is a powerful lobbying group, as well as a huge voice in standards for doctors and medical facilities. Their primary goals are to keep you healthy, keep bringing medical science to the forefront, and make sure doctors are ethical and up to standard.

Evan Shaner