It never ceases to amaze me how relentlessly the American Medical Association—and, earlier and perhaps today, the Canadian Medical Association—seems to me to oppose, as a group, the idea of a medical care system whose two main conditions are high quality care and care that actually reaches all (or nearly all) people. Yes, even so-called poor people. Even if Medicare-type delivery is cheaper, which it has proven to be, using the cost of the American system as an example—a system that still leaves 47 million people uninsured.

Coming from a family with two doctors therein, I never would have instinctively guessed such an inegalitarian stance to be the instinct of an Association led by doctors (and their rich friends). How naive, evidently.

Some of the early opposition to so-called universal health care was simply racist: for example, the fear of allowing blacks to be treated in the same hospitals as white, let alone with the same care. Indeed, I am sure the question for many was also: why treat them at all?

But check this out, to get a very slight taste of history. In 1961, the AMA created, believe it or not, a program called Operation Coffee Cup. Part of the program was to have doctors’ wives (called the “Women’s Auxiliary”) gather over coffee, with others, to convince said gatherers to write letters to Congress, and on and on.

About what?

Well, the goal of Operation Coffee Cup was, in short, to oppose health insurance for the elderly. More specifically, the expansion of Social Security to include health insurance for the elderly. This, of course, wreaked of socialism (which already wreaked enough). This communism-infected Health insurance ideology for the elderly, by the way, would later become known as Medicare.

At these meetings, doctors’ wives would play an LP album called Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine. At this point, I believe President Reagan was still just a pretty poor actor.

The three parts are here. One, two and three.

I wish human nature was different, and greed and domination wouldn’t overtake any blanket ideology—because blanket ideologies are used for exploitation—but they do. In a way, isn’t it oppressive at least to a degree to make a person live under any system he or she doesn’t wish to live under? We are distinct individuals after all.

Lots of love and health,

Pete xo

PS This just in! Although historically the AMA and CMA have often been against universal health care, I just read this on the Democracy Now site:
Isabel MacDonald [of FAIR]:

“Fifty-nine percent of Americans and 59 percent of physicians support a Medicare for All-type program, or single payer [I'm not sure if that currently means the AMA]. ABC [Television Network] has not had a single advocate of that system on air this year [I wonder if ABC's friends are Health Insurance companies or coalitions of, say, poor people in New Orleans]. So we’re delivering a petition to both ABC and we’re also sending a message to the other TV networks, demanding that they cover single-payer healthcare and stop silencing single-payer advocates.”


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