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JUNE 24, 1999  5:35 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
American Medical Student Association
Tim Clarke of the American Medical Student Association, 703-620-6600, ext. 207, or 301-518-5725
Med Students Question Intentions Behind AMA Unionizing Efforts
 
WASHINGTON - June 24 - The following is a statement released today by David Grande, national president of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), the nation's largest independent medical student organization:

"The American Medical Association (AMA) voted yesterday to unionize doctors in an attempt to level the playing field with managed care corporations. They claim that their motives are centered on patient protection, but despite their political influence and their limitless financial resources, the AMA has failed to support comprehensive reform that would secure equal access to quality health care for all Americans.

"The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) has a long-standing commitment to support physician efforts to unionize to protect patients and maintain a professional and uncompromised work environment. Based on the AMA's past history, AMSA feels that it is prudent and justified to question their intentions. Historically, the AMA has done too little to protect patients. Not only did they oppose the creation of Medicare in 1965, they have consistently opposed efforts towards providing a quality universal health care system for the American public.

"When faced with conflicts between patient care and physician interests, the AMA has moved to protect the latter. A study printed in the New England Journal of Medicine (1994; 330: 32-7), reported that the AMA contributed more money to pro-tobacco and anti-gun control politicians, despite the AMA's own recognition of those two issues as public health hazards. These politicians clearly were working against the health interests of every American. With such a track record can the American public, in good faith, trust the AMA to look beyond themselves and place patient interests first?

"The AMA's recent decision to unionize is one small step in the struggle to make a change in the current health care environment. The American Medical Student Association hopes that the AMA will not stop here, but recognize the larger problem and begin to look into realistic options for universal health care."

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Founded in 1950, the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) is an independent organization of nearly 30,000 physicians-in-training from more than 150 medical schools across the country. AMSA is committed to improving health care and healthcare delivery to all people, promoting active improvement in medical education, involving its members in the social, moral and ethical obligations of the profession of medicine, assisting in the improvements and understanding of world health problems, contributing to the welfare of medical students, interns, residents and post-M.D./D.O. trainees, and advancing the profession of medicine.

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