On August 21, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly said, "President Obama likes to point out that the American Medical Association, or AMA, supports the Democrats' health care reform bill ... it turns out that this group only represents about 20 percent of practicing doctors." Yet when the AMA was critical of Democratic support for the public option in early June, Fox News anchors -- including Kelly -- characterized the AMA as "very influential," called it "the nation's largest doctors' group" and claimed that it "represents most of the doctors in this country."
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Fox's Kelly repeatedly downplayed AMA's representation with doctors
From the August 21 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
KELLY: Well, President Obama likes to point out that the American Medical Association, or AMA, supports the Democrats' health care reform bill. But just how many doctors does this group actually represent? We're joined by one who says the AMA does not speak for him.
KELLY: The American Medical Association supports President Obama's plans for health care reform, as the president has pointed out repeatedly. But just how many doctors does this group actually represent? Stay tuned.
KELLY: Well, President Obama likes to tout the fact that the American Medical Association, or AMA, supports health care reform and has endorsed a version of the House bill. But how many doctors does this group actually represent? You might be surprised at the answer.
Interventional cardiologist Dr. James Klemis joins us live. Doctor, good morning to you.
KLEMIS: Hi. Good morning.
KELLY: All right. So we looked up the statistics, and it turns out that this group only represents about 20 percent of practicing doctors. So 80 percent of the doctors out there in America are not represented by the AMA and the question is, how do they feel about the president's push for health care reform, specifically the versions coming out of the House?
But in June, Kelly and Fox hosts touted "largest," "biggest," "very influential" AMA criticism of public option
Kelly: Supporters of public option say "the doctors want it. Well, apparently, the American Medical Association -- made up of doctors -- doesn't want it."
From the June 11 edition of America's Newsroom:
BILL HEMMER (co-host): We are watching the White House this morning. In the next hour, President Obama heads to Green Bay, Wisconsin; he will pitch health care reform today, and the president wants a bill on his desk by the end of July. But this big battle will be over efforts to add a government-run insurance option into the mix nationally.
President Obama and some Democratic leaders say a public option is essential to reform, but the American Medical Association opposes it. So, too, some key members of President Obama's own party, raising their own concerns about it lately. It is still a wide open question and debate as to whether or not this gets through Congress, but we'll follow the trip later today in Green Bay.
KELLY: This is interesting, Bill, because, you know, the folks who are supporting this plan have been saying all along that the doctors want it, the doctors want it, the doctors want it. Well, apparently, the American Medical Association -- made up of doctors -- doesn't want it.
Neil Cavuto: AMA, "the nation's largest doctors' group," "has major concerns" about Obama's plan.
From the June 11 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
NEIL CAVUTO (host): Lots of laughs there; no laughs from doctors today very worried about a government meddling in their medical decisions.
I always loved that skit. Anyway, welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. Glad to have you.
The president today pitching his health care plan in Green Bay, Wisconsin, but it is proving to be a very tough sell for the nation's largest doctors' group -- the very same group that the president will be addressing on Monday. The American Medical Association saying that it has major concerns about the president's plan, fearing that the government will have too much control over your health care.
Chris Wallace: The "biggest association of health care providers ... strongly against the public insurance plan."
From the June 12 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
CHRIS WALLACE (Fox News Sunday host): Nina [Easton], the American Medical Association, which is the biggest association of health care providers in the country, came out today -- they're very much in favor of health care reform -- but came out very strongly against the public insurance plan for exactly the reasons Mort [Kondracke] mentioned.
Jon Scott: Obama "needs to win" the support of the "very influential" AMA.
From June 15 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:
SCOTT (co-anchor): We are waiting for President Obama's arrival in his hometown of Chicago. He is set to make his latest push for health care reform there. He left the White House earlier hoping to win support of the American Medical Association. That very influential group is gathered in the president's hometown for its annual meeting. The president needs to win the AMA's support for a plan that affects every American.
Scott noted AMA criticism while falsely claiming AMA "represents most of the doctors in this country."
From the June 15 edition of Happening Now:
SCOTT: I mentioned at the top that he's going to be speaking to a skeptical audience there in Chicago. The American Medical Association represents most of the doctors in this country, not all of them, and here's one of the things that they had to say about his plans: "The AMA does not believe that creating a public health insurance option for nondisabled individuals under age 65 is the best way to expand health insurance coverage and lower costs."
One of the points they seemed to make, Linda, is that if I ran a small company, say, 25 people, and I had health insurance for my employees, very expensive, the first thing I might do as soon as there's some kind of a government option available, is cancel my private program and let these people be paid for by the government.
Now, President Obama says if you have private health insurance, you can keep it, but what if my employer were to no longer make that an option for me?
As Media Matters for America has noted, based on AMA figures, the association represents less than 29 percent of licensed physicians in the United States. Media Matters also documented the AMA's inconsistency in June on its opposition to a public plan, while noting that other doctors' groups such as the National Physicians Alliance and Physicians for a National Health Program support a public plan.