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Nurses, doctors, and medical students demonstrated outside the annual meeting of the American Medical Association in Chicago on Saturday, demanding the group "get out of the way" in the fight for a Medicare for All program. (Photo: National Nurses United/Twitter)

At AMA's Annual Meeting, Doctors and Nurses Demand Powerful Lobbying Group 'Get Out of the Way' In Fight for Medicare for All

"The AMA is violating one of its most important ethical principles: 'Do Not Harm.'"

Julia Conley

Nurses, doctors, and medical students on Saturday afternoon gathered outside the Hyatt Regency hotel in Chicago, where the largest professional association for physicians was holding their annual meeting, to demand that the group "do no harm" and stop standing in the way of real, meaningful healthcare reform.

National Nurses United (NNU) and Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) were among the groups that gathered to call on the American Medical Association (AMA) to support a Medicare for All program, which would replace the for-profit health insurance industry with government-funded healthcare for everyone in the United States.

On social media, the groups used the hashtag #AMAGetOutTheWay to rally support for the protest.

The AMA is a powerful and wealthy lobbying force in Washington, D.C., but as at least one protester's sign noted at the demonstration, it counts less than 25 percent of physicians among its membership—down from 75 percent in the 1950s.

"The AMA does not speak for us," another sign read.

"The AMA is not fighting for their patients, they're not fighting for the uninsured, and they're not fighting for the underinsured," said PNHP President and Harvard Medical School instructor Adam Gaffney at the rally. "We're here today because the AMA is again on the wrong side of history."

Advocates for a single-payer healthcare program in the form of Medicare for All say the group does not represent the views of the next generation of doctors. PNHP's organization of medical students also had a large presence at the rally.

Our Revolution President Nina Turner told the crowd that skeptics of Medicare for All should listen to the perspectives of the medical professionals gathered outside the meeting.

"If you don't believe Medicare for All is important, let's hear from the people who stand by the bedsides of all of us in our worst moments and who have been its champion before it became popular," Turner said.

Registered nurse Talisa Hardin accused the AMA of violating the primary oath taken by all physicians by refusing to back Medicare for All.

"The AMA is violating one of its most important ethical principles: 'Do Not Harm,'" Hardian said. "Healthcare is a human right, and not a privilege!"

"We will not continue to accept mediocrity," Turner said. "We will not continue to accept excuses as to why the wealthiest country on the face of the earth cannot provide Medicare for All for its citizens. We will not accept it!"

Watch the rally:


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