Trump’s health pick, Tom Price, sparks bitter infighting among doctors

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Enlarge / Tom Price, R-Ga., speaks at a signing ceremony for the “Restoring Americans Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015” at the US Capitol in Washington in 2016. Rep. Price, who is also a physician, is the sponsor of the legislation, which is designed to eliminate key parts of President Barack Obama’s health care law and stop taxpayer funds from going to Planned Parenthood. (credit: Getty | Congressional Quarterly )

President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of six-term Congress member Tom Price (R-Ga.) for secretary of health and human services has inflamed the medical community bigly this week, causing widespread and bitter infighting.

Price is not a particularly shocking pick by Trump—the Congressman is one of the fiercest Obamacare critics, and Trump vowed during his campaign to quickly repeal and replace the mammoth healthcare law. Beyond that, Price, a former orthopedic surgeon, has maintained strong conservative positions on healthcare policy. He opposes abortion rights and regulations on tobacco, for instance. But he also belongs to a small, fringe, ultra-conservative and conspiracy-laden group called the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). Among other things, this group decries evidence-based medicine, Medicare, and Medicaid, plus it has peddled discredited, dangerous notions including that vaccines cause autism.

In light of some or all of those facts, many in the medical community were left aghast and fuming by support of Price’s nomination from top medical associations, namely the powerful American Medical Association (AMA) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). In the past few days, thousands of doctors have signed letters and petitions, condemned the groups’ support, and publicly quit the AMA. The hashtag #NotMyAMA has gathered steam on Twitter.

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