The American Medical Association, with its $8 billion in annual revenues, has become the largest single employer in the country, with a workforce of more than 1.5 million physicians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The AMA has spent $2.7 billion on lobbying in 2017, up from $1.4 billion in 2016, according the Center for Responsive Politics.
A report from the nonpartisan Campaign for Accountability released in December found that AMA executives spent more than $2 billion lobbying last year, up sharply from just $500,000 in 2015.
The organization also has received more than 6,000 donations from individual physicians and other medical organizations since 2010, the Center found.
AMA president Dr. Robert Califf has said that AMA has been doing its part to fight medical fraud.
But the AMA’s lobbying arm has also pushed to increase the cost of health care.
Last year, the AMA published a report titled “Hospitals and Medicare: An Economic Cost-Benefit Analysis.”
It found that the AMA was the most active campaign in lobbying for increased fees and benefits for hospitals and Medicare.
The AMA is also pushing to weaken the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
AMA officials have repeatedly said they support a plan to eliminate the benefit and instead make it a tax benefit.
But, as the Center pointed out in its report, that plan doesn’t have any teeth.
In the last year alone, the report found, the group spent $500 million on lobbying against eliminating the Medicare drug benefit, while lobbying for it $3.8 billion.
Meanwhile, a federal court ruled that the ACA is not constitutional because it allows employers to deny insurance coverage for medical care that is medically necessary.
At the same time, the Obama administration is expanding the number of insurers that can participate in the ACA marketplaces, which are designed to reduce health insurance premiums and to give people who do not have health insurance the option to purchase insurance through the government exchanges.
That has helped lower out-of-pocket costs for consumers and allowed insurers to offer cheaper premiums than they otherwise could have.
Despite the AMA and other members of Congress lobbying so hard to weaken health care protections, there is no sign of the AMA backing down in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.
In December, the president signed an executive order directing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to develop a “model” plan that could be used by insurers to determine whether they should be required to offer health insurance to those with pre-existing conditions.
But the president also gave the go-ahead for the AMA to lobby for a different kind of rule change, which would allow insurers to charge people with pre, chronic, or cancer-related conditions higher premiums.
As we continue to grapple with this unprecedented and rapidly unfolding healthcare crisis, the American Medical Society is proud to stand with the AMA, its members, patients, and the American people.
And we’ll keep fighting to keep the Affordable Care Act intact and to ensure it protects our patients, the taxpayers, and everyone who relies on it to provide quality care.
Sign the petition: AMA to Lobby on Health Care Protection in 2017