Historically and philosophically, however, AMA's opposition is hardly newsworthy. Despite a lofty reputation and purported commitment to universal coverage, AMA has fought almost every major effort at health care reform of the past 70 years.
The group's reputation on this matter is so notorious that historians pinpoint it with creating the ominous sounding phrase "socialized medicine" in the early decades of the 1900s.
"The AMA used it to mean any kind of proposal that involved an increased role for the government in the health care system," Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina, told NPR in a 2007 interview. "They also used it to mean things in the private system that they didn't like. So, at one point, HMOs were a form of socialized medicine."
Indeed, the role played by AMA throughout health care reform battles past has often been primarily as the defender of the status quo.
In 1935, fears of an AMA backlash helped persuade Franklin Roosevelt's advisers to drop a health care article from the Social Security package -- fearful that the opposition would sink the legislation altogether.
Concerned about government restriction on and oversight over surgical activities -- not to mention the loss of physician income -- the group deployed the "socialized medicine" argument to undermine Harry Truman's effort at a national health care system years later.
In 1961, AMA organized a campaign to block Medicare. Titled "Operation Coffeecup," the effort insisted that the government-sponsored system would lead to a varying form of totalitarianism.