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(Reuters) Mon., June 20, 2011 CHICAGO — The American Medical Association on Monday reaffirmed its position that individuals should be responsible for buying health insurance, a contentious provision of U.S. health care reform.

The health reform law's requirement that everyone buy insurance is facing a legal challenge by 26 states that contend the government cannot compel citizens to engage in commerce.

At the AMA's annual meeting in Chicago, two-thirds of delegates voted to uphold the group's policy supporting individual responsibility for purchasing health insurance.

Key insurance market reforms, such as ending denials of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, are only possible through broad participation in the health insurance market, said AMA President Dr. Cecil Wilson.

"The AMA's policy supporting individual responsibility has bipartisan roots, helps Americans get the care they need when they need it and ends cost shifting from those who are uninsured to those who are insured," Wilson said.

President Barack Obama in 2009 took his health care campaign to the annual meeting of the influential AMA, which represents 250,000 doctors and has historically been opposed to a bigger government role in health care.

(Reporting by Susan Kelly; Editing by Christopher Wilson)

© 2010 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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