Physicians vote in favor of universal healthcare model

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The American Medical Association (AMA) seems to have taken a page out of the Massachusetts playbook this week by ratifying in a meeting Tuesday a proposal towards helping low income individuals afford health insurance. The plan would place tax penalties on anyone earning over $49,000 (or families with $100,000 household incomes or more) who does not have insurance. The funds from which would be used for tax credits and subsidies for those with less money, Bloomberg News reports.

"The AMA just took a huge step toward supporting universal healthcare for all Americans," said Jack Lewin, PhD, executive vice president of the California Medical Association, which sponsored the proposal, Bloomburg reports. "Historically, the AMA has supported voluntary approaches, but never a mandate."

The AMA vote is simply a recommendation, but the organization does have some influence in Washington. As we’ve reported, Massachusetts recently approved a law that placed a mandate on its residents to get health coverage, and if they are considered high-income but remain uninsured they will face penalties. Of course, this is just a part of the funding scheme for the plan. The Massachusetts law goes into effect in July 2007.

The AMA proposal would leave Medicare and Medicaid as they are currently, and would hopefully allow "working families not to fear bankruptcy because of health care costs," Lewin said, Bloomburg reports.