Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
AAPS logo.jpg
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"

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."[1][2] The group was reported to have approximately 4,000 members in 2005, and 3,000 in 2011.[3][1] Notable members include Ron Paul and John Cooksey;[4] 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.[5] 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.[2] In 1944, Time reported that the group's aim was the "defeat of any Government group medicine."[2] 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.[6]


Though it describes itself as "non-partisan",[7] AAPS is generally recognized as politically conservative.[6][8][9][10] 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."[10]

The organization opposes mandatory vaccination,[11] universal health care[12] and government intervention in healthcare.[10][13] The AAPS has characterized the effects of the Social Security Act of 1965, which established Medicare and Medicaid, as "evil" and "immoral",[14] and encouraged member physicians to boycott Medicare and Medicaid.[15] AAPS argues that individuals should purchase medical care directly from doctors, and that there is no right to medical care.[16] 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.[10]

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.[17] Other procedures that AAPS opposes include abortion[18] and over-the-counter access to emergency contraception.[19] AAPS also opposes electronic medical records[10] as well as any "direct or de facto supervision or control over the practice of medicine by federal officers or employees."[20]

On Oct 25 2008 the AAPS website published an editorial implying that Barack Obama was using Neuro-linguistic Programming, "a covert form of hypnosis", in his presidential campaign.[21]

Legal activism

American Physicians and Surgeons Vs Social Security

In 1975, AAPS went to court to block enforcement of a new Social Security amendment that would monitor the treatment given Medicare and Medicaid patients.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24]

Gun control

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.[25][26][27][28]

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.[29] (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.[30]

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.'"[31][32]

Other cases

In 2006 the group criticised what it called sham peer review, claiming it was a device used to punish whistleblowers.[33] 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.[34] Hurwitz was granted a retrial in 2006, and his 25-year prison sentence was reduced to 4 years and 9 months.[35]

Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPandS), until 2003 named the Medical Sentinel,[36][37] 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.[38]

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is not listed in major academic literature databases such as MEDLINE/PubMed[39] nor the Web of Science.[40] The National Library of Medicine declined repeated requests from AAPS to index the journal, citing unspecified concerns.[1] Articles and commentaries published in the journal have argued a number of non-mainstream or scientifically discredited claims,[1] including:

A series of articles by pro-life authors published in the journal argued for a link between abortion and breast cancer.[45][46] Such a link has been rejected by the scientific community, including the U.S. National Cancer Institute,[47] the American Cancer Society,[48] and the World Health Organization,[49] among other major medical bodies.[50]

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[51] and the American Academy of Pediatrics.[52] 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."[53]

The Journal has also published articles advocating politically and socially conservative policy positions, including:

Quackwatch lists JPandS as an untrustworthy, non-recommended periodical.[56] An editorial in Chemical & Engineering News by editor-in-chief Rudy Baum described JPandS as a "purveyor of utter nonsense."[57] 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."[58]

Leprosy errors

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."[59] 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.[59] The journal's leprosy claim was cited and repeated by Lou Dobbs as evidence of the dangers of illegal immigration.[53][60]

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.[61] 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."[60] 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."[53] The article's erroneous leprosy claim was pointed out by 60 Minutes,[62] National Public Radio,[53] and the New York Times[60] but has not been corrected by the Journal.


  1. ^ a b c d e Meier, Barry (January 18, 2011). "Vocal Physicians Group Renews Health Law Fight". New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Portent". Time. 1944-05-08.,9171,933370,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  3. ^ Chu, Jeff (2005-08-07). "Doctors Who Hurt Doctors". TIME magazine.,9171,1090918,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  4. ^ AAPS (October 2002). "Volume 58, No. 10 October 2002". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  5. ^ Erik M. Conway, Naomi Oreskes, Merchants of Doubt, 2010, p.245
  6. ^ a b "New Power in A.M.A.; Milford Owen Rouse". New York Times. June 30, 1966. Retrieved March 16, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Membership Information". AAPS. Retrieved 2008-08-01. 
  8. ^ Hall, Mimi (2002-07-22). "Many states reject bioterrorism law". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  9. ^ "Progress Report". Time Magazine. 1967-06-30.,8816,837038,00.html.  " ultra-conservative political-action group"
  10. ^ a b c d e Mencimer, Stephanie (November 18, 2009). "The Tea Party's Favorite Doctors". Mother Jones. Retrieved 19 November 2009. 
  11. ^ "AAPS Mandatory Vaccine Factsheet". AAPS website. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 
  12. ^ "AAPS Petition". AAPS website. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 
  13. ^ "AAPS Letter Against Healthcare Reform". AAPS website. Retrieved 2007-02-23. 
  14. ^ "Principles of the AAPS". Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Retrieved March 10, 2007. 
  15. ^ "Medicare Boycott Urged for Doctors". New York Times. August 5, 1965. Retrieved March 16, 2007. 
  16. ^ "RESOLUTION 2001-1: Medical Care Is NOT a Right". Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Retrieved March 10, 2007. 
  17. ^ The Standard of Care, from the AAPS website. Accessed March 10, 2007.
  18. ^ Resolution passed by the Assembly - Affirming the Sanctity of Human Life, from the AAPS website. Accessed March 12, 2007.
  19. ^ Comments re: Docket No. 2005N-0345, RIN 0910-AF72, from the AAPS website. Accessed March 12, 2007.
  20. ^ "Model Resolutions". Retrieved 2009 10 17. 
  21. ^ "Oratory—or hypnotic induction?". 2008-10-25. Retrieved 2009 10 17. 
  22. ^ "Review for Doctors". TIME magazine. 1975-12-01.,9171,913792,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  23. ^ Pear, Robert (December 19, 1997). "Judge Rules Government Covered Up Lies on Panel". New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2008. 
  24. ^ Lewis, Neil (August 25, 1999). "Court Clears Clinton Aide In Lying Case". New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2008. 
  25. ^ Health Care News staff (2003 1 1). "Faria Appointed to CDC Committee". Retrieved 2009 10 17. 
  26. ^ Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. (1996-09-30). "Docs, Guns, and the CDC". The New American (American Opinion Publishing, Inc and 12 (20). Retrieved 2009 10 17. 
  27. ^ "The Pledge: The Myth of a Gun Violence Epidemic". Retrieved 2009 10 18. 
  28. ^ Don Kates, Henry E. Schaffer & William B. Waters IV (1997 Apr). "Public Health Pot Shots". Retrieved 2009 10 18. 
  29. ^ Peters, S. (October 2001). "Physicians File Lawsuit To Overturn HIPAA". Internal Medicine News. Retrieved 2007-02-14. [dead link]
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Doctors Group: Limbaugh Medical Records Seizure Unlawful". 2004-02-22. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  32. ^ Erik M. Conway, Naomi Oreskes, Merchants of Doubt, 2010, p.245
  33. ^ Lawrence R. Huntoon (2006-05-09). "Sham Peer Review: A National Epidemic". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  34. ^ Roosevelt, Margot (2005-07-18). "Why Is The DEA Hounding This Doctor?". TIME magazine.,9171,1083911-2,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  35. ^ Washington Post story, July 14th, 2007.
  36. ^ "Medical Sentinel". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  37. ^ "Major Changes to AAPS Peer-Reviewed Journal". AAPS website. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  38. ^ "Manuscript information for authors". JPandS website. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  39. ^ "PubMed database". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  40. ^ "Web of Science". Archived from the original on 2007-02-12. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  41. ^ Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide by Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, and Willie Soon. Published in The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 2007; 12(3), 79.
  42. ^ Questioning HIV/AIDS: Morally Reprehensible or Scientifically Warranted?, by Henry Bauer. Published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 2007: Vol 12, No. 4, p. 116.
  43. ^ AIDS - A Heterosexual Epidemic? by Michael Fumento and AIDS - Inventing a Virus? Commentary by Peter H. Duesberg, PhD. From Medical Sentinel, Volume 2, No. 3, Summer 1997.
  44. ^ Homosexuality: Some Neglected Considerations, by Nathaniel S. Lehrman, MD. Published in Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 10, Number 3 (Fall 2005), pp. 80-82.
  45. ^ Malec, Karen (2003). "The Abortion-Breast Cancer Link: How Politics Trumped Science and Informed Consent" (PDF). Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 8 (2): 41–45. 
  46. ^ Brind, Joel (2005). "Induced Abortion as an Independent Risk Factor for Breast Cancer: A Critical Review of Recent Studies Based on Prospective Data" (PDF). Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 10 (4): 105–110. 
  47. ^ "Abortion, Miscarriage, and Breast Cancer Risk". National Cancer Institute. Retrieved March 11, 2007. 
  48. ^ "Can Having an Abortion Cause or Contribute to Breast Cancer?". American Cancer Society. Archived from the original on March 25, 2008. Retrieved March 31, 2008. 
  49. ^ "WHO – Induced abortion does not increase breast cancer risk". Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  50. ^ Jasen P (2005). "Breast cancer and the politics of abortion in the United States". Med Hist 49 (4): 423–44. PMC 1251638. PMID 16562329. 
  51. ^ "Position of the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety regarding concerns raised by paper about the safety of thiomersal-containing vaccines". WHO. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  52. ^ "Study Fails to Show a Connection Between Thimerosal and Autism". American Academy of Pediatrics. 2003-05-16. Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  53. ^ a b c d Broken Borders? CBS Lambastes, Hires Dobbs, by David Folkenflik. From All Things Considered, National Public Radio, May 11, 2007. Accessed August 29, 2008.
  54. ^ The FDA and HCFA (Part II): Unconstitutional Regulatory Agencies, by James A. Albright, MD. Published in Medical Sentinel, 2000;5(6):205-208.
  55. ^ Conspiracy --- Part III, by Curtis W. Caine, MD. Published in Medical Sentinel, 1999;4(6):224.
  56. ^ Barrett, S., M.D. "Nonrecommended Periodicals". Quackwatch. Retrieved 2007-02-12. 
  57. ^ Baum, Rudy (June 2008). "Defending Science". Chemical & Engineering News 86 (23): 5. doi:10.1021/cen-v086n023.p005. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  58. ^ "Bitter Heather Mills defends credibility as Wakefield anti-MMR campaign crumbles". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  59. ^ a b Illegal Aliens and American Medicine, by Madeleine Cosman. Published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Spring 2005 (Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 6-10).
  60. ^ a b c Truth, Fiction, and Lou Dobbs, by David Leonhardt. Published in the New York Times on May 30, 2007; accessed August 29, 2008.
  61. ^ New U.S. Reported Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) Cases by Year, 1976-2005, from the U.S. National Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) Program. Accessed August 29, 2008.
  62. ^ Lou Dobbs' Opinion, from 60 Minutes. Originally broadcast on May 17, 2007; accessed August 29, 2008.

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