Healthcare Reform on the Agenda at AMA Meeting

Ashley Tarchione, MSIV, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine
EMRA MSC AMA-MSS Representative 2019-20

At this year’s American Medical Association (AMA) conference, held earlier this month, medical students and physicians came together to tackle many issues facing healthcare. Most prominently at this meeting, our Medical Student Section advocated strongly for healthcare insurance reform, pressing the AMA to reverse its longstanding opposition to single-payer healthcare systems and asking the organization instead to take a neutral stance on the subject. Although the attempt was unsuccessful, the vote was closer than ever before, and the conversation had on the floor was extremely productive. 

The Medical Student Section also passed several resolutions that will directly affect emergency medicine. One resolution called for the AMA to support the use of advanced psychiatric directives. Another resolution that will affect many students in the application cycle called for the AMA to investigate the barriers faced by osteopathic students when applying for away rotations. Lastly, the Section passed a resolution to encourage a federal effort to expand dialysis treatments to undocumented persons - an access problem that is seen in emergency departments every day. These resolutions will be sent to the AMA this Fall at the 2019 Interim Meeting, where they will be voted on by the physicians and students who comprise the House of Delegates, the formal policy-making body of the AMA. 

While these resolutions directly affect EM, there are many more policy areas and interests covered at AMA meetings, including public health issues, medical education, science and technology, and the finance of medicine. My favorite medical student resolution that was voted on at this meeting proposes to allow minors to consent to their own vaccinations. If you would like to get involved with the policy writing process of either EMRA or the AMA, or if you are curious about the other benefits of joining these organizations, please contact me