CNSNews.com and Fox Business Network each gave a platform to representatives of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, but did not note that it is a conservative-leaning group that has promoted and endorsed controversial views on medicine and health.
In a June 26 article, CNSNews.com senior reporter/editor Pete Winn reported on the claims of "Dr. David McKalip of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons," a Florida neurosurgeon who claimed in a "unique virtual town meeting broadcast on the Internet" that including a public plan option in health care reform -- which Winn described as "a mandatory government insurance option" -- will result in "government takeover of medicine" with a goal to "ration care" that will cause doctors to "simply start migrating out of medicine." But Winn did not note that AAPS is a conservative-leaning group that has promoted and endorsed controversial views on medicine and health, including urging doctors not to serve as Medicare providers and supporting a "moratorium on vaccine mandates."
Similarly, in a June 11 interview of AAPS director of policy and public affairs Kathryn Serkes, Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney did not identify AAPS' ideological leanings or note its views.
Among the views AAPS or its leaders are on record as promoting or endorsing:
- It has urged doctors to withdraw from serving as Medicare providers. An August 2000 press release -- headlined "DOCS SHOULD QUIT MEDICARE, SAYS LEADING DOCTORS' GROUP" -- quoted AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient as saying: "Medicare sentences seniors to lousy care, delayed care or even death. ... Doctors should refuse to be willing participants in this game of regulatory Russian roulette."
- AAPS members passed a resolution in 2000 calling for a "moratorium on vaccine mandates." In a press release, Orient stated regarding parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated: "It's obscene to threaten to seize a child just because his parents refuse medical treatment that is obviously unnecessary and perhaps even dangerous."
- Orient has defended William Hurwitz, a Virginia doctor, following his conviction on 50 counts related to illegal drug distribution. Hurwitz was accused of prescribing massive amounts of painkillers to patients who would then reportedly abuse the pills or distribute them to others, which prosecutors claimed resulted in one death. In a January 2005 Newsmax.com column, Orient criticized "overzealous, ambitious prosecutors [who] portray themselves as crusaders against the supposed scourge of medically caused addiction," later writing: "Hurwitz was accused of being responsible for an epidemic of drug abuse in Virginia and many other states. Now that he's been shackled and carted off to prison, possibly for life, prosecutors may be popping champagne corks and preparing new indictments. The effect on the illegal prescription-drug traffic in Virginia because he has been convicted will be precisely zilch."
- AAPS filed an amicus brief pressing for the public release of photos of former Clinton deputy counsel Vincent Foster -- whom the AAPS described as "the attorney assigned by Hillary Clinton to 'fix' the AAPS lawsuit against the Health Care Task Force" -- taken following his 1993 death, which numerous investigations have determined a suicide. In a newsletter describing the brief, AAPS wrote:
To this day, the government has refused to release for independent scrutiny ten photographs of Foster's fully clothed body taken in Fort Marcy Park. One of the photographs, which showed a gun in the hand of the post-mortem body, was leaked and widely published in degraded form. But it raised more questions than it answered, such as how the .38 caliber gun of an alleged suicide remained in his hand and even appeared to be lodged underneath his leg.
Briefs are being filed before the Supreme Court on the issue of whether the government can continue to conceal the photographs, which might show multiple bullet wounds or a pattern of blood flow inconsistent with the posture of the discovered body. The precedent at stake is whether the government can hide behind the privacy exception to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), "exemption 7(C)."
- In 2001, the AAPS' Medical Sentinel published a review by Orient of Christopher Ruddy's book The Strange Death of Vincent Foster. The review stated, in a reference to the Shakespearian play Macbeth:
Macbeth ordered the murder of his old friend, but the appearance of Banquo's ghost at a banquet spelled his own doom.
Does life imitate art? Vincent Foster, like Banquo, surely carried many secrets with him to the grave.
If we ever find out what happened on the day of his death
and the night after
we may have a key to many other matters. With new material now coming to light, this book is as timely as the day it was first published.
- A May 2005 AAPS newsletter asserted that the case of Terri Schiavo "took on the trappings of the 'final decision' in the Roman Colosseum in the days of the gladiators," adding:
When one of the gladiators was disarmed, he knelt in front of the victor, who looked to the crowd and the royal elite for their decision: thumbs up or thumbs down. The American public, according to television polls that described her condition inaccurately, was 80% in favor of killing Terri. The judicial elite, playing to the fervor of the crowd, showed thumbs down.
- In a June 25 "open letter to America's physicians" on the AAPS website, McKalip stated: "Congress and President Obama are proposing to turn doctors into servants of the state, insurance companies, hospitals, and everyone except who matters most: the patient. We will be turned into bean counters, computer entry clerks, dutiful 'providers' and will not resemble anything like a 'professional.' "
Additionally, in 2005, the AAPS' Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons published an article by Madeleine Pelner Cosman, who was not a medical doctor, that claimed leprosy "was so rare in America that in 40 years only 900 people were afflicted. Suddenly, in the past three years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy. Leprosy now is endemic to northeastern states because illegal aliens and other immigrants brought leprosy from India, Brazil, the Caribbean, and Mexico." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, the National Hansen's Disease Program of the Department of Health and Human Services reported that there had been just 431 reported cases of Hansen's disease, or leprosy, over the "past three years" and a total of 8,490 cases from 1966 to 2005. Cosman's false claim was repeated on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight and by right-wing website WorldNetDaily.