FOR RELEASE ON JULY 12, 2021
Physicians for a National Health Program, a nonprofit advocacy organization with more than 24,000 members, today launched its national Medical Society Resolutions (MSR) campaign. The goal of the MSR campaign is to organize the medical profession to support single-payer Medicare for All by passing pro-single-payer resolutions in local, state, and specialty medical societies throughout the U.S.
Surveys show that a majority of American doctors now support improved Medicare for All, but most physicians’ professional organizations do not reflect the changing views of their members.
“Covid-19 has made the need for Medicare for All even more urgent,” said Dr. Susan Rogers, a Chicago-based internal medicine physician and president of PNHP, “but we can’t win single-payer reform without the full support of the medical profession.” Dr. Rogers added, “Even though a large and growing number of physicians favor Medicare for All, the organizations that claim to represent us don’t yet endorse the policies we need to provide universal, equitable, and comprehensive coverage to everybody in the U.S. Our local, state, and specialty medical societies have the power to influence the national debate on health care, and we need them to use that power to win Medicare for All.”
The Medical Society Resolutions campaign follows two years of unprecedented movement towards Medicare for All within organized medicine:
- In June 2019, at the last in-person annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA), the AMA’s Medical Student Section filed a resolution that would require the organization to rescind all policies that prohibit it from supporting single-payer reform. Hundreds of doctors, nurses, medical students, and health care activists marched outside the meeting, demanding the AMA both drop their opposition to Medicare for All and withdraw from the anti-single payer lobbying group Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PFAHCF). The medical profession was stunned when the AMA House of Delegates rejected the student resolution by a razor-thin margin — 53% to 47% — opening the door to future support for single payer. Several weeks later, the AMA resigned its membership in the PFAHCF.
- Then in January 2020, the 159,000-member American College of Physicians (ACP) — the largest medical specialty society and second-largest physician group in the U.S. after the AMA — announced its endorsement of Medicare for All, along with a “universal public choice” reform model.
- In August 2020, the 3,300 member Society of General Internal Medicine followed suit by formally endorsing the ACP’s position.
- Medicare for All is also gaining momentum within state medical societies: The 2,400-member Vermont Medical Society (VMS) overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution supporting a single-payer health program in November 2020. Vermont is the second state medical society to endorse Medicare for All, after Hawaii.
- Young and future physicians are moving the profession towards Medicare for All: Polling shows more than 70% of medical students support single-payer reform. Not surprisingly, all the major associations representing medical students and new physicians have issued statements or resolutions endorsing Medicare for All, including the American Medical Students Association; the AMA Medical Student Section; the Student National Medical Association (representing medical students of color); and the Committee of Interns and Residents, the union representing residents and interns (physicians in training).
PNHP members are also active in a sister campaign led by Public Citizen to pass single-payer resolutions in city and county councils. To date, the campaign has passed 65 local resolutions in favor of Medicare for All, including major cities such as Philadelphia, Oakland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, Cook County (Chicago), Los Angeles, Knoxville, and Milwaukee.
For more information on the PNHP Medical Resolutions Campaign, visit medicalsocietyresolutions.org.
Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org) is a nonprofit research and education organization whose more than 24,000 members support single-payer national health insurance.