This brochure was part of the AMA's campaign against President Truman's national health insurance plan. Courtesy AMA Archives
In June 1943, the AMA House of Delegates established the Council on Medical Service and Public Relations. The Council was formed, in large part, due to growing concerns over proposed changes as to how health care services should be delivered and financed in the United States. For example, legislation introduced in 1943 by Senator Robert E. Wagner (D-NY), Senator James E. Murray (D-MT), and Representative John D. Dingell, Sr. (D-MI), proposed to establish a compulsory system of health insurance for all persons and their dependents covered by the Social Security Act. The proposed system was to be financed by Social Security taxes, administered by the Surgeon General, and included, among other things, a physician "fee schedule." By establishing the Council, the AMA committed itself to a new body that would have clear, nonscientific goals.
Today, the Council continues to actively undertake studies and present policy recommendations to the House of Delegates. During the 1990s, the Council presented 256 reports to the House on a wide range of topics, including:
- Medicare and Medicaid
- managed care
- expanding coverage and patients' choice of health plans
- hospitals and hospital-based services
- pharmaceutical coverage and spending
- allied health professionals
The Council's 1998 report, "Empowering our Patients: Individually Selected, Purchased, and Owned Health Expense Coverage," provided the basis for the AMA's current proposals for reforming the private health insurance system and expanding patient choice and health insurance coverage. This and other full-text Council reports from June 1998 to the present are now available on the Council on Medical Service Web site.