Its membership may abide by the Hippocratic Oath, but the American Medical Association is definitely doing the public harm in its opposition to meaningful health care reform, writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. The AMA has become infamous for its lousy political stands: it supported segregation, backed tobacco, denounced Medicare, and opposed health reform from both Truman and Clinton. Now, it’s trying to kill the public option. “They’ve always been on the wrong side of things,” says Dr. David Scheiner—Barack Obama’s longtime personal physician.
Scheiner supports a public option, and he’s worried his former patient’s reform efforts won’t go far enough. “In the past the patient’s health was the bottom line, not the checkbook,” he says. “Today, it’s just immoral what’s going on.” Lots of doctors agree. That’s why the AMA’s ranks have shrunk to roughly 19% of practicing doctors—and half of those disagree with its politics. Obama should tune the other half out, Kristol concludes, and give his doctor a call.