By Peter Sullivan for The Hill

The American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s main group for doctors, announced Thursday that it is leaving a coalition fighting “Medicare for All,” a blow to the industry’s efforts to push back on the progressive proposal. 

The AMA said it is leaving the industry group called the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, which has been running ads against Medicare for All and public option proposals from the leading Democratic candidates for president.

However, the doctors group’s CEO, Dr. James Madara, said in a statement that the AMA still opposes Medicare for All. It just wants to focus its energies on advocating for solutions, such as improving ObamaCare by making its subsidies for helping people afford coverage more generous. 

“The American Medical Association (AMA) firmly believes that the best pathway to expand affordable, high quality health insurance coverage to all Americans is through a mix of private and public health insurance options,” Madara said in a statement. “We remain opposed to Medicare for All, and policies that reduce patient choice and competition, and are built on flawed financing policies.”

The news was first reported by Politico.

The AMA is internally divided on whether to maintain its decades-long opposition to single-payer health care. Many young doctors tend to be more supportive of the idea than their older counterparts. 

A vote at the group’s House of Delegates was very close in June, with 53 percent voting to maintain opposition to single-payer health care and 47 percent voting to end it. 

Amid that debate, the AMA is deciding to focus on advocating solutions, though more incremental ones than Medicare for All. 

“Practical solutions have been identified and continue to be championed by the AMA,” Madara said. “The AMA decided to leave the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future so that we can devote more time to advocating for these policies that will address current coverage gaps and dysfunction in our health care system.”

The anti-Medicare for All coalition still has many powerful industry groups in it, including the American Hospital Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

In a statement, the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future emphasized that the AMA still opposes Medicare for All.

“Our diverse and fast-growing coalition strongly agrees with the American Medical Association (AMA) that Medicare for all is the wrong approach for America’s health care and we have appreciated the opportunity to work with them throughout the past year,” the Partnership said.

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