What Is the A.M.A. Program?

In July 1945 the American Medical Association announced its program to meet the admittedly unsatisfactory health situation in America. This program emphasizes the need for intensification of voluntary efforts to solve the problem of paying the medical bill. Sustained industrial and agricultural production is urged to improve living conditions and therefore health conditions. State surveys are suggested to determine the need for additional medical care and to appraise the adequacy of voluntary insurance plans in meeting such needs and in improving the quality of medical service. Extension of preventive public health services to all parts of the country is advocated. The expansion of voluntary insurance against the costs of hospitalization and physicians’ services, so as to serve all communities, is proposed.

The A.M.A. report further suggests that the medical care of the needy be met from local tax funds paid as premiums to voluntary sickness insurance plans directed by doctors. Supplementing state and local funds by national tax funds is proposed where definite need for such aid is demonstrated. Emphasis is placed upon the importance of informing the public about the nature of voluntary insurance plans, with recognition that they need not involve any increase in taxation.

Finally, the report urges postponement of the consideration of “revolutionary changes” while large numbers of men and women, including medical officers, remain in the armed services, and proposes measures for rectifying the present and future shortage of medical personnel, particularly in rural areas. The question of the organization of medical services around a network of hospitals, or in group practice, is not touched in this report.