- Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons Type Political advocacy group Founded May 1944 Location Tucson, Arizona, United States Focus Opposes abortion, Medicare/Medicaid, universal health care, and government involvement in health care; publishes the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Motto "A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943" Website http://www.aapsonline.org/
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a politically conservative American non-profit organization founded in 1943 to "fight socialized medicine and to fight the government takeover of medicine." The group was reported to have approximately 4,000 members in 2005, and 3,000 in 2011. Notable members include Ron Paul and John Cooksey; the executive director is Jane Orient, a member of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.
AAPS publishes the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, but the journal is not included in Web of Science or MEDLINE/PubMed lists of peer-reviewed scientific sources. The organization, its members, and the journal have all been the subjects of criticism from mainstream medical sources.
During the winter of 1943, the Lake County (Indiana) Medical Committee decided to take action against the Wagner-Murray-Dingell Bill, proposed legislation that would provide government health care for most U.S. citizens. Also opposed to the bill was the conservative National Physicians Committee. The committee began a membership drive in February 1944. By May 1944, the AAPS claimed members from all 48 states. In 1944, Time reported that the group's aim was the "defeat of any Government group medicine." In 1966, the New York Times described AAPS as an "ultra-right-wing... political-economic rather than a medical group," and noted that some of its leaders were members of the John Birch Society.
Though it describes itself as "non-partisan", AAPS is generally recognized as politically conservative. According to Mother Jones, "despite the lab coats and the official-sounding name, the docs of the AAPS are hardly part of mainstream medical society. Think Glenn Beck with an MD."
The organization opposes mandatory vaccination, universal health care and government intervention in healthcare. The AAPS has characterized the effects of the Social Security Act of 1965, which established Medicare and Medicaid, as "evil" and "immoral", and encouraged member physicians to boycott Medicare and Medicaid. AAPS argues that individuals should purchase medical care directly from doctors, and that there is no right to medical care. The organization requires its members to sign a "declaration of independence" pledging that they will not work with Medicare, Medicaid, or even private insurance companies.
AAPS also opposes mandated evidence-based medicine and practice guidelines, criticizing them as a usurpation of physician autonomy and a fascist merger of state and corporate power where the biggest stakeholder is the pharmaceutical industry. Other procedures that AAPS opposes include abortion and over-the-counter access to emergency contraception. AAPS also opposes electronic medical records as well as any "direct or de facto supervision or control over the practice of medicine by federal officers or employees."
American Physicians and Surgeons Vs Social Security
American Physicians and Surgeons Vs Hillary Clinton
With several other groups, AAPS filed a lawsuit in 1993 against Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala over closed-door meetings related to the 1993 Clinton health care plan. The AAPS sued to gain access to the list of members of President Clinton's health care taskforce. Judge Royce C. Lamberth found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $285,864 to the AAPS for legal costs; Lamberth also harshly criticized the Clinton administration and Clinton aide Ira Magaziner in his ruling. Subsequently, a federal appeals court overturned the award and the initial findings on the basis that Magaziner and the administration had not acted in bad faith.
In 1996, Dr Miguel Faria (founding editor of Medical Sentinel, the AAPS's journal) was involved in a gun control debate regarding the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC). Faria and other critics felt the NCIPC's program on gun violence was biased against gun owners, and was part of a 'public health' political strategy by gun control advocates. They testified before the US House to that effect. Faria wanted to defund the NCIPC entirely.
American Physicians and Surgeons Vs Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
The AAPS was involved in litigation against Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), arguing that it violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution by allowing government access to certain medical data without a warrant. (Title II of HIPAA, known as the Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions, requires the establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers, and is intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the US's health care system by encouraging the widespread use of electronic data interchange in the health care system.)
American Physicians and Surgeons vs Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
On March 26, 2010 AAPS filed suit to invalidate the new health care bill.
American Physicians and Surgeons Vs "Seizure of Rush Limbaugh's medical records"
In 2004, AAPS filed a brief on behalf of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh in Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal, opposing the seizure of his medical files in an investigation of drug charges for Limbaugh's alleged misuse of prescription drugs. The AAPS stated the seizure was a violation of state law and that 'It is not a crime for a patient to be in pain and repeatedly seek relief, and doctors should not be turned against patients they tried to help.'"
In 2006 the group criticised what it called sham peer review, claiming it was a device used to punish whistleblowers. The next year, the AAPS helped appeal the conviction of Virginia internist William Hurwitz, who was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for prescribing excessive quantities of narcotic drugs after 16 former patients testified against him. Hurwitz was granted a retrial in 2006, and his 25-year prison sentence was reduced to 4 years and 9 months.
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons
The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPandS), until 2003 named the Medical Sentinel, is the journal of the association. Its mission statement includes "… a commitment to publishing scholarly articles in defense of the practice of private medicine, the pursuit of integrity in medical research … Political correctness, dogmatism and orthodoxy will be challenged with logical reasoning, valid data and the scientific method." The publication policy of the journal states that articles are subject to a double-blind peer-review process.
The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is not listed in major academic literature databases such as MEDLINE/PubMed nor the Web of Science. The National Library of Medicine declined repeated requests from AAPS to index the journal, citing unspecified concerns. Articles and commentaries published in the journal have argued a number of non-mainstream or scientifically discredited claims, including:
- that human activity has not contributed to climate change, and that global warming will be beneficial and thus not a cause for concern;
- that HIV does not cause AIDS;
- that the "gay male lifestyle" shortens life expectancy by 20 years.
A series of articles by pro-life authors published in the journal argued for a link between abortion and breast cancer. Such a link has been rejected by the scientific community, including the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the World Health Organization, among other major medical bodies.
A 2003 paper published in the journal, claiming that vaccination was harmful, was criticized for poor methodology, lack of scientific rigor, and outright errors by the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics. A National Public Radio piece mentioned inaccurate information published in the Journal and wrote: "The journal itself is not considered a leading publication, as it's put out by an advocacy group that opposes most government involvement in medical care."
The Journal has also published articles advocating politically and socially conservative policy positions, including:
- that the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are unconstitutional;
- that "humanists" have conspired to replace the "creation religion of Jehovah" with evolution;
- that "anchor babies" are valuable to undocumented immigrants, particularly if the babies are disabled.
Quackwatch lists JPandS as an untrustworthy, non-recommended periodical. An editorial in Chemical & Engineering News by editor-in-chief Rudy Baum described JPandS as a "purveyor of utter nonsense." Investigative journalist Brian Deer wrote that the journal is the "house magazine of a right-wing American fringe group [AAPS]" and "is barely credible as an independent forum."
In a 2005 article published in the Journal, Madeleine Cosman argued that illegal immigrants were carriers of disease, and that immigrants and "anchor babies" were launching a "stealthy assault on [American] medicine." In the article, Cosman claimed that "Suddenly, in the past 3 years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy" because of illegal aliens. The journal's leprosy claim was cited and repeated by Lou Dobbs as evidence of the dangers of illegal immigration.
However, publicly available statistics show that the 7,000 cases of leprosy occurred during the past 30 years, not the past 3 as Cosman claimed. James L. Krahenbuhl, director of the U.S. government's leprosy program, stated that there had been no significant increase in leprosy cases, and that "It [leprosy] is not a public health problem—that’s the bottom line." National Public Radio reported that the Journal article "had footnotes that did not readily support allegations linking a recent rise in leprosy rates to illegal immigrants." The article's erroneous leprosy claim was pointed out by 60 Minutes, National Public Radio, and the New York Times but has not been corrected by the Journal.
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- AAPSonline.org - Association of American Physicians and Surgeons home page
- Medical Sentinel - The first journal published by AAPS, now renamed to the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons http://www.jpands.org.
- Rachel Maddow (November 18, 2009). "Special Interests Rally for Senate Health Bill". MSNBC: The Rachel Maddow Show. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/vp/34029631#34029631.
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