News Release

Obama, AMA and “Our Traditions”


Today, President Obama spoke before the American Medical Association.

ANNE SHEETZ, MD, via Jim Rhodes
A Chicago-based physician, Sheetz only does house calls to elderly home-bound patients. She is protesting with others today across from the AMA convention, where Obama noted that a single-payer option works in other countries but stated that we in the U.S. should “build on our traditions.” Sheetz said today: “We want to build on our tradition of Medicare. It works well and should be expanded.” Sheetz is a member of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Paris was recently profiled in the Billings Gazette (Montana) as a result of her criticism of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), the chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

She said today: “The AMA does not represent me. It is a common misconception that this organization speaks on behalf of most American physicians but that is a misconception with very serious consequences at such a critical time in the healthcare reform debate. So long as the public, the media and our elected officials lump all physicians together as ‘the AMA,’ then we are guilty by association of a failure of our hippocratic oath to ‘first, do no harm.’

“In fact, the AMA represents less than one-third of America’s physicians and half of those are retired. The American Medical Student Association endorses Universal Healthcare Reform.

“The AMA’s longstanding opposition to every effort to change healthcare financing, including Medicare in the 1960s, has resulted in decades of needless and countless morbidity and mortality. Sixty people die every day in this country simply for lack of access to healthcare. And instead of being an advocate for the only solution that accomplishes the goals of universal coverage and fiscal viability, the single-payer option, the AMA continues to be primarily a trade association looking out for the financial interests of its members.

“But who, then, is looking out for the interests of patients? … Our Congress and our president are looking out for themselves and continuing the tradition of pay-to-play politics. How else would a reasonable person explain the fact that our elected officials, Democrats and Republicans combined, have accepted $12 million in campaign contributions since 1998 from the American Medical Association?” Paris is a member of Physicians for a National Health Program.

The Washington Post published a piece on Saturday “Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments: Key Players Have Stakes in Industry.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167