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The AMA Was Wrong Then, and It’s Wrong Now: Health Care is a Right

Statement of Dr. Sidney Wolfe, Founder and Senior Adviser, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group

Note: Fifty-one years ago, Public Citizen’s Dr. Sidney Wolfe joined other physicians to take over the microphone at the American Medical Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco to speak out against the group’s policy that “heath care is a privilege, not a right.” Today, the AMA and its partners still stand by that position. A protest is planned during the AMA’s annual meeting this weekend in Chicago to demand that the group support Medicare for All.

Health care excludes 30 million people in America from any insurance, and at least 25,000 people a year die because they can’t afford care. Yet the AMA remains opposed to Medicare for All because it would reduce the profits of those they are in partnership with, including Big Pharma and the for-profit health insurance industry.

The AMA is violating one of its most important ethical principles: Do no harm. And it is violating that principle purely to prop up corporate profits. They were wrong 51 years ago, and they are wrong today.

Medicare for All is coming, and the AMA should join the right side of history.