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SPOTLIGHT
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Real or imagined

Published on -6/17/2013, 3:58 PM

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Real or imagined

Local tea party leader Roger Ewing, in his letter to Reader Forum, sought attendance for Tuesday's meeting to hear Dr. George Watson deliver the "Latest on Obamacare." Watson is a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Sounds impressive?

In 2009, Mother Jones magazine took a look: "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 group (which did not return calls for comment for this story) has been around since 1943. ... The AAPS statement of principles declares that it is 'evil' and 'immoral' for physicians to participate in Medicare and Medicaid, and its journal is a repository for quackery. ... An article on the AAPS website speculated that Barack Obama may have won the presidency by hypnotizing voters, especially cohorts known to be susceptible to 'neurolinguistic programming' -- that is, according to the writer, young people, educated people, and possibly Jews.

"For decades the AAPS has opposed any attempt -- real or imagined -- to expand the government's role in health care. ... Basically AAPS doctors believe that medicine should be a cash-and-carry business.

"This free-market fundamentalism has made the AAPS a natural ally for big corporations. Documents released as a result of the tobacco litigation the 1990s and early 2000s show that Philip Morris officials worked with AAPS executive director Jane Orient to help the company's "junk science" campaign that attacked indoor smoking bans. The tobacco company also relied on AAPS to generate 'third party press releases' in support of its agenda, according to documents in the tobacco archives. ...

"The tea-party movement has given AAPS -- a fringe operation for most of its recent history -- a much needed shot in the arm. News reports put the group's membership at about 4,000 (now closer to 3,000) members ... By comparison, the AMA (American Medical Association) has 236,000 members ..."

AMA supports the new health care law.

Last July, as reported on its website, AMA president Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, wrote the Wall Street Journal: "While the law is not perfect, the AMA, the nation's largest physician organization, supported it because it makes necessary improvements to our health care system."

At the time, the WSJ was published by News Corp., chaired by Fox News owner Rubert Murdoch.

The Journal chose not to publish Lazarus' letter.

Bob Hooper

Bogue

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