John Stossel: The Woke AMA

The American Medical Association now tells doctors: Use woke language! It’s issued a 54-page guide telling doctors things like, do not say “equality”; say “equity.” Do not say “minority”; say “historically marginalized.”

Much of the AMA’s advisory sounds like Marxism: “Expose property rights… Individualism is problematic… Corporations… limit prospects for good health… people underpaid and forced into poverty as a result of banking policies.”

This is too much even for some on the left, like writer Matthew Yglesias.

“Can you imagine anyone actually doing this?” asks Yglesias. “What would happen if you were in a clinical setting, and somebody starts giving you this lecture about landowners? … Nobody practices medicine like that, and it would not be helpful to anybody! ”

He points out that while the AMA now tells doctors to call poor neighborhoods “systematically divested,” not “poor,” it has long lobbied for things that hurt poor people, like restricting the number of doctors. The US has fewer doctors than other countries.

“We have the best paid physicians in the world and the scarcest physicians in the world,” says Yglesias. “That’s not a coincidence.”

Years ago, in most of America, anyone could practice medicine. Licensed doctors did not like that. That led to the formation of the AMA.

They’re a trade group, says Yglesias. “They advance the interests of their members.”

In 1986, the AMA called for smaller enrollment in medical schools, to curb an alleged doctor “surplus.” In 1997, it even got the government to pay hospitals not to train doctors!

Today, the AMA supports rules that make it hard for doctors from other countries to practice here. Foreign doctors must complete a US residency program. They do not get credit for having practiced abroad.

Such rules preserve America’s doctor shortage. That shortage allows the average doctor to make more than $ 200,000 a year.

Well-paid doctors can be choosy about where they work. That’s why it’s tough to find a doctor in rural America, Yglesias says.

There are lots of Walmarts and Targets in rural areas because there is no limit on big stores. Walmart and Target compete to serve as many communities as they can.

I asked the AMA for an interview about this, but they declined. They sent us a statement saying they’ve worked to approve “approximately 20 new medical schools.”

Why does the AMA and its “Liaison Committee on Medical Education” even get to approve new schools?

The AMA’s statement claims it supports “increasing the number of physicians.” If that’s true, it’s long overdue. A study in Annals of Internal Medicine says if there were more primary care doctors, 7,200 lives would be saved.

Because doctors are scarce, more people go to nurses for help. But AMA lobbyists push for laws that require nurses to be supervised by a doctor.

“That makes it much harder to open retail health clinics that (that offer) low-cost, high-convenience treatment,” says Yglesias. “Nurses have a lot of training. … There’s a lot of useful stuff that they can do. ”

The AMA’s lobbying hurts poor people most.

The AMA does not like talking about that. Instead, it now obsesses about politically correct language, telling doctors, do not say, “ex-cons”; say “formerly incarcerated.” Do not say “slaves”; say “enslaved people.”

Yglesias concludes, “Getting really obsessed with language politics is a good way to position themselves as the good guys, without addressing their role in creating these problems.”

John Stossel is the author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media.”

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