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AMA Protest in Chicago by Coalition Groups

Chicago played host to the American Medical Association’s annual conference which wrapped up on Saturday June 8. The AMA has drawn sharp criticism from national organizations who disagree with the professional association’s role as detractors for Medicare for All, a distinctly popular proposal for a national healthcare plan.

Groups from around the country organized a protest, hoping to apply pressure to the AMA to end their negative position on Medicare for All. A diverse coalition of groups, including members from the Physicians for a National Healthcare Plan, National Nurses United, Our Revolution, Green Party activists and others gathered in front of the headquarters for insurance giant, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Included in this event were students, clinical educators from the University of Chicago, as well as area hospital medical professionals dressed in their scrubs and lab coats, who staged a walk out to join the rally in support of Medicare for All.

Video AMA Protest in Chicago

Coalition groups then moved down the street, playing music and carrying fifteen foot tall signs, as they marched to the Hyatt Regency Hotel where the AMA Delegates were wrapping up their conference. As protesters lined the streets outside, several made their way inside to stage a ‘die in’ inside the hotel lobby. No arrests were made as protesters were escorted out of the building.  

Representatives from each of the groups have pledged to continue pushing for Medicare for All to help gain support for the plan from professional associations and elected officials.

Earlier this month Our Revolution groups staged local actions to pressure Congressional representatives who have yet to support this popular legislation. They began in Maryland and New Jersey with several stops in Illinois where only four of the state’s Democratic Representatives have signed on as sponsors.  

Meanwhile, National Nurses United has pushed volunteers to solicit local township, village, and county officials for their support as an effective cost saving measure for municipal and state employees, which is anticipated to help lower property taxes while expanding coverage once enacted.

One holdout, Congressman Brad Schieder (IL10), also sits on the House Ways and Means Health subcommittee and has the power to block legislation from reaching the full House delegation for debate.  

Schneider has been criticized recently for citing RAND Corporation data, a right-wing military think tank, to cite opposition to Medicare for All implementation. Also of concern is Rep. Schneider’s apparent conflict of interest as his wife, Julie Dunn, is a senior vice president at Alliant/Mesirow Insurance Services, a company that sells health insurance products.

Medicare for All currently enjoys wide bipartisan support across the country and is scheduled for another hearing in the House Ways and Means Health subcommittee this Wednesday.

Related: The Many Market Failures of Health Care

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