The American Medical Association (AMA) launches a three-year, multi-million dollar campaign called “Voice For The Uninsured” to spur action to cover the uninsured. The national launch begins today with a Washington, D.C. press conference at the National Press Club and full-page ads in the New York Times and USA Today.
This year, the AMA is reaching out to voters and candidates to talk about the problem of the uninsured and the AMA’s solution. The second year of the campaign will focus on influencing Americans to vote for president with the issue of the uninsured in mind.
The third year, post-election, the AMA will urge members of Congress to pass legislation to cover all Americans.
“The AMA campaign is grounded in the sad fact that one in seven Americans is uninsured,” said AMA President-elect Nancy Nielsen, MD. “That’s not just a statistic, it’s a tragedy. The campaign gives a voice to these 45 million uninsured patients who desperately need one.”
“The beginning of the AMA’s campaign will coincide with the 2008 election cycle,” said Dr. Nielsen. “As the 2008 presidential hopefuls develop their platforms for health care reform, the AMA is encouraging them to incorporate the AMA proposal into their plans to cover the uninsured.”
“Under the AMA plan, the vast majority of Americans would have the means to purchase health care coverage,” said Dr. Nielsen. “It would give individuals choices, so they can select the appropriate coverage for them and their families, and would promote market reforms in the insurance industry.”
This year the AMA launches a new Web site, www.VoiceForTheUninsured.org, to allow patients to learn more about the AMA’s proposal to cover the uninsured, sign a petition, and share a personal story. From Labor Day through the end of this year, AMA ads will appear in various television, print, radio and online outlets in Washington, D.C. and the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
Additional outreach in these markets includes ads on pharmacy bags, billboards and in transit stations. During September and December, the Metro Center station in Washington, D.C. will be blanketed with 100 ads.
“The Voice For The Uninsured campaign will rally physicians, mobilize patients, and amplify voters’ voices on the issue of the uninsured,” said Dr. Nielsen. “We’re personally reaching out to voters and candidates at events in early primary states.”
The AMA sponsored a day at the Iowa State Fair (Aug. 16) and had a presence at the Iowa Straw Poll (Aug. 11). Upcoming events include the New Hampshire Hopkinton State Fair (Aug. 30) and Rochester Fair (Sept. 14). The AMA Voice For The Uninsured campaign will also be at home football games at the University of South Carolina, Clemson University, the University of Iowa, and Iowa State University. AMA leaders will continue to share the AMA proposal through speaking engagements with various community, civic, and patient groups.
“The AMA is enlisting doctors and medical students in our campaign, and asking them to become advocates on this important issue,” said Dr. Nielsen. “When patients visit their doctor’s office they will be able to pick up materials on the AMA’s uninsured campaign.”
The AMA continues to advocate for the renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Earlier this year, the AMA joined forces with a group of 16 national health care stakeholders to reach consensus on recommendations to cover the uninsured using some of the core principles of the AMA proposal.
“Covering the uninsured is a top priority for the AMA, and today we’re taking a big step forward in our commitment to cover all Americans,” said Dr. Nielsen.