We shouldn’t be surprised that the American Medical Association has come out against government-sponsored insurance plan. The AMA these days has many concerns other than medicine. It is a main proponent of “tort reform,” a vast right-wing conspiracy to enhance corporate profits by denying citizens’ 7th Amendment rights to sue for damages in court.
Although it still pretends to be the voice of American physicians, in fact it has been losing membership steadily for the past several years. The most recent information I could find says that about a third of American physicians are members. It has struggled financially with dwindling membership dues.
The AMA and the American Council of Engineering Companies are co-founders of the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA), which has turned into an umbrella group of special interests and astroturf organizations pushing for tort reform legislation. The ties of “tort reform” to the Right, via Karl Rove, are legendary.
Take, for example, the organization Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA), which has chapters in several states actively pushing “tort reform” to state legislatures. According to SourceWatch, CALA is an astroturf organization commissioned by the Philip Morris tobacco company in 1995, and Philip Morris continues to fund and direct CALA through ATRA. SourceWatch says,
A “privileged and confidential” Philip Morris (PM) tort reform budget from 1995shows that PM spent over $16 million to instigate tort reform during that year alone, and that PM paid an international public relations firm called APCO & Associates (now known as APCO Worldwide) almost $1 million in 1995 to implement tort reform efforts behind the scenes.
… citizen activists fed up with the high cost and injustice in our legal system. They work actively within their communities to urge individual responsibility, safety, and to chronicle abuses of the legal system and to fight for civil justice reform.
It is ironic that the AMA, which 20 years ago stood up to the tobacco industry by calling for a ban on tobacco ads, is now in bed with it. They’re shacked up in a shabby off-the interstate motel hoping no one finds them, but they’re in bed just the same.