AMA: Policy Statement Supports Health Care Reform

Association also adopts strategies to reduce medical school debt, increase supply of physicians

THURSDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- The American Medical Association (AMA) issued a new policy statement supporting health care reform that is consistent with AMA principles, and adopted new strategies aimed at relieving medical student debt and addressing the physician shortage on June 17 at its annual meeting held from June 13 to 17 in Chicago.

The AMA called for reform that provides affordable, high-quality health coverage to all Americans, while meeting the association's longstanding commitments to pluralism, freedom of choice, freedom of practice, and universal patient access.

To help relieve the financial burden of medical school, which currently saddles the average graduate with $155,000 in loans, the AMA announced that it will work to increase funding through federal and state scholarship and loan repayment programs.

"The overwhelming cost of medical education significantly hinders bright students from considering medical careers," AMA board member, William A. Hazel, M.D., a private practitioner in Herndon, Va., said in a statement. "As baby boomers age and we continue to face a growing physician shortage, the alarming cost of medical school tuition and the debt burden on young physicians must be addressed."

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