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Thom Hartmann loves to bring these conservatives and libertarians on his show to debate different topics with them and one of the things he doesn't always do that well is set up for the audience just who some of them are that he's debating. I'll get to that shortly, but the guest here is Jane M. Orient, M.D., director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons who's recent article is Who’s Pushing Granny over the Cliff?
I would have expected the debate here to focus more on the Paul Ryan ad showing him literally throwing grandma off of a cliff that the title of her article addresses, but Hartmann spent almost all of the time during the segment debating her about another assertion she made in the article, that the Social Security trust fund is a Ponzi scheme filled with worthless I.O.U.'s.
Apparently the doctor doesn't think that Treasury bills are worth anything and that there is not currently a surplus in the trust fund because those I.O.U.'s are going to have to be paid back by retirees children and grandchildren in her words. Never mind that raising taxes on the wealthy right now would take care of that problem instead of assuming it would have to be taken care of by the working class. And as Hartmann pointed out, if we raise the income cap on taxes for SSI that would take care of any of the program's long term solvency problems.
What Hartmann didn't fill the viewers or listeners in on before he brought her on the air is her group's background. Here's some info from Sourcewatch on the AAPS:
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a group of conservative activist doctors who oppose the 2010 health care reform law, the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." Members of the group also believe that President Obama may have hypnotized voters and that climate legislation is a threat to human health. Some of the group's former leaders were members of the John Birch Society. Mother Jones wrote of the group, "Yet 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 describes itself as "a non-partisan professional association of physicians in all types of practices and specialties across the country. Since 1943, AAPS has been dedicated to the highest ethical standards of the Oath of Hippocrates and to preserving the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship and the practice of private medicine."
False leprosy claim
The Spring 2005 edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons contained an article by Madeleine Cosman, headlined "Illegal Aliens and American Medicine," claiming, "Suddenly, in the past three years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy," citing a 2003 article in the New York Times as a reference. Among news outlets repeating this claim were WorldNetDaily and CNN anchor Lou Dobbs. In fact, the 7,000 number in the Times article was an apparent reference to all then-current cases of leprosy in the U.S.; according to the National Hansen's Disease Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there have been just 431 reported cases of Hansen's disease (leprosy) over the "past three years."
And as they noted there, here's an article from Mother Jones on Orient and her ilk -- The Tea Party's Favorite Doctors:
Most tea party protests against health care reform feature a standard cast of characters. Revolution-era patriots in greatcoats and tricorne hats; LaRouchies handing out pictures of Obama with a Hitler mustache; the people with the giant fetus signs; and some guy dressed as an actual tea bag. Then, there are the doctors. Real doctors. They wear white coats and they look respectable. And many of them come from a group with a respectable-sounding name—the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
As tea partiers have become the leading opposition to health care reform, AAPS has lent credibility to their criticism of the emerging health care legislation. Before the big 9/12 rally in Washington, AAPS cosponsored a protest on Capitol Hill with the Tea Party Patriots that AAPS says attracted 1,000 physicians. The organization's president, Mark Kellen, appeared with Georgia representatives Tom Price and Phil Gingrey—GOP members of the congressional doctors' caucus—to slam the bill.
AAPS docs hopped Tea Party Express buses to protest the American Medical Association's annual meeting in Houston (the AMA endorsed the House bill), and staged a live reading of the legislation to highlight objectionable passages. When Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann called for tea partiers to come to the Capitol on November 5 to "kill the bill," AAPS doctors organized a national "tele-town hall" to prep attendees. On Fox News and talk radio, AAPS docs often appear to offer an expert medical opinion against reform. Read on...
Oh and surprise, surprise, she's also been a contributor over at Breitbart's Big Government site.