Doctors Protest AMA’s Support of Tom Price Appointment

Open letter expresses liberal concerns

Nearly 450 doctors who are members of the American Medical Association (AMA) have signed an open letter criticizing the group for its endorsement of Georgia Republican Congressman Tom Price as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, according to an article posted on the FierceHealthcare website. The nomination of Price, an orthopedic surgeon for almost 20 years who has been a member of the AMA House of Delegates, must be confirmed by Congress.

In a statement, AMA board chair Patrice A. Harris, MD, said that the group has agreed and disagreed with Price on issues over the years, but hopes his background will bring a physician’s perspective into President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet.

A major criticism from liberal doctors, however, was Price’s opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Harris said the AMA’s core principle is that any health care reform should not cause any person to lose health insurance coverage.

That didn’t satisfy hundreds of physicians, who wrote back to Harris and the AMA, saying the AMA must stand up for key health policies, such as ensuring health care access for all Americans; ensuring access to reproductive health care to all women; supporting the right to nondiscrimination for members of the LGBTQ community; and maintaining coverage for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

Meanwhile, MedPageToday posted a poll that asked readers, “Is Price right for HHS?” The poll identified Price as a conservative congressman. Of the 275 respondents, 63% said “no” and 37% said “yes.”

Sources: FierceHealthcare; December 5, 2016; and Open Letter; December 2, 2016.