Doctors for America
Doctors for America has a prescription for the US: Leftwing policies, whether or not they have something to do with medicine.
Doctors for America was originally formed as “Doctors for Obama” to support Barack Obama’s candidacy for president. Since then, the organization has rebranded to appear less political and to incorporate as a nonprofit. But its activities and agenda have remained leftwing.
Doctors for America was formed in 2008 by Vivek Murthy. Murthy had previously been on the New England Steering Committee for Obama’s campaign during the 2008 Democratic primary. “When Obama became the Democratic nominee, Murthy and fellow physicians founded Doctors for Obama.,” reported Yale Medicine Magazine.
Doctors for Obama had three co-chairs: Murthy, Nikhil Wagel, and Milan de Vries. While Doctors for Obama claimed that it had no formal ties to the Obama campaign, two of its senior advisors were health care policy advisors for the campaign directly: Irwin Redlener, and David Blumenthal.
“The Obama campaign has specifically targeted the medical community, forming a committee, Doctors for Obama, http://doctorsforobama.net/, which Redlener co-chairs,” reported the Virginian-Pilot in October 2008.
Transition From 2008 Campaign to Obamacare
After the 2008 election, Doctors for Obama rebranded as Doctors for America with help from the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress, which gave the group an undisclosed amount of money and became its fiscal sponsor.
Its top issue was promoting health care reform–with Obamacare being the new president’s signature initiative.
In May 2009, the Center for American Progress held a conference call briefing with Murthy, then US Senator Max Baucus, and CAP head John Podesta (of Wikileaks fame). Baucus was “one of the architects of Obamacare” according to Business Insider.
The Center for American Progress giving “fiscal sponsorship” of Doctors for America obscures details about DFA’s activities and finances at the time. Normally, a nonprofit organization must report finances and activities on a public Form 990 tax return. However, because CAP lent its nonprofit status to DFA, DFA’s activities are commingled with CAP’s other programs–providing little insight into DFA’s operations at the time.
From ObamaCare to Anti-Gun, Climate Change Politics
Doctors for America isn’t limited to healthcare policy. It has tried to rope in other political issues under the guise of public health.
Murthy, who cofounded and led Doctors for America, would go on to become Obama’s surgeon general, during which he spoke about climate change as a public health issue and called on the U.S. to better mitigate it.
In December 2014, Murthy was narrowly confirmed as Surgeon General, which The Atlantic called “a victory for gun-control advocates.”
Doctors for America has repeatedly worked to advance gun control efforts like a federal ban on semiautomatic rifles, and partnered with Democrats and liberal groups in order to do so.
In 2013, DFA partnered with longtime gun control advocate Sen. Dianne Feinstein to push a federal ban on semiautomatic rifles. In 2015, DFA joined with Democratic politicians to demand Congress “view gun violence as a public health epidemic.” And in 2021, DFA claimed that loosening gun laws would disproportionately affect minorities.
DFA’s advocacy for liberal policies under the guise of “public health” doesn’t end with gun control.
In April 2015, DFA argued the U.S. should treat climate change as a public health issue. “An underlying principle of public health that I want to emphasize is that of prevention. Indeed, prevention of disease should be the driving force in our efforts to improve health in America. And whether it’s promoting heart health through nutrition and physical activity or preventing disease outbreaks through vaccinations, prevention really is our goal, and that is true here with climate change, as well,” wrote Murthy.
DFA also advocates for abortion, calling it “an essential aspect of evidence-based healthcare.” Doctors For America’s Louisiana chapter is listed as a member of the Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom. The Louisiana coalition opposed efforts to require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
Doctors for America has taken several anti-police and anti-incarceration positions, including calling on counties to reduce their jail population because of COVID-19, hosting a seminar on alleged “police brutality,” and endorsing efforts to “[scale] back the role of law enforcement.”
In April 2020, Doctors For America authored a COVID-19 toolkit that argued jails in Texas must release inmates to reduce the spread of the virus.
“To avert this looming public health crisis, we identify three goals local criminal legal system stakeholders should work toward: 1) Safely reduce the currently jail population,” argued DFA.
Doctors For America has endorsed the so-called People’s Response Act, a federal bill that calls for “scaling back the role of law enforcement” and instead spending $10 billion on a “new public safety agency” that is not police.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) as part of the “defund the police” crusade. Bush has come under criticism for having her own private security while trying to gut funding for public law enforcement.
DFA has also adopted “wokeness” in its terminology. As recently as 2020, DFA had a subcommittee on “Womxn’s Health.” The term “womxn” is used by the political correctness activists who object to the fact that the word “women” has “men” in it. (This uses the same logic as those trying to use the term Latinx to avoid using the masculin “Latino.”) DFA has since changed the name of the subcommittee to “Women’s Health,” in the wake of several Latino groups proclaiming that the term “Latinx” was a ridiculous term invented by woke non-Latinos.
Twisting Public Health into Politics
Traditionally, public health has focused on commonsense measures that benefit the public broadly. One example is the historical development of clean municipal tap water systems to prevent the spread of disease.
The modern public health movement, however, has veered into intrusive measures that target personal choices. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration tried to ban the sale of large sodas in restaurants and other venues in the name of public health–supposedly to make people lose weight.
These kinds of public health advocates treat people like cattle, to be herded in certain directions for their own good–with their rights as an individual playing second fiddle. The “greater good” takes precedence over the individual.
As CS Lewis wrote, “a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”
DFA claims on its website to represent “27,000+ doctors and medical students.” This is less than 3% of the roughly 1 million physicians in the United States, and not much more than the physician membership of the wacky Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine, an animal rights group (which has a higher overall membership, accounting for non-physicians).
But even this 27,000 is suspect. Doctors for America’s membership claims are repeatedly contradicted by its own public statements.
DFA reports that half its revenue comes from “individual contributions.” In 2020, that would mean individual contributions accounted for about $197,000 in revenue, according to its tax return. But the lowest membership on DFA’s website is $12 (for medical students). If all 27,000 alleged members of DFA were just medical students, that would bring in far greater revenue–$324,000.
Based on the information provided by DFA on its tax return and website, the numbers seem fishy.
Whatever its true membership is, one fact is clear: DFA doesn’t represent most physicians.
DFA refused to provide a list of its donors when asked by the media. “Doctors for America declined to provide a list of its donors in response a request by The Washington Times. The group says it raises its own money, though donors are told on the website disclosure that the contributions are tax-deductible because Doctors is a project of the Center for American Progress,” reported the Times in a 2013 story.
Doctors for America has also repeatedly insisted the group is self-funded–despite receiving by its own admission “a private grant sponsored by the Center For American Progress.”
Public tax records also show that DFA has received money from the Conrad Hilton Foundation, Jamieson Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
From 2011 to 2013, Doctors for America took a combined $135,000 from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a multimillion dollar foundation that gives to many progressive causes.
Planned Parenthood, which sponsored Doctors for America’s 2019 conference, has also given at least $40,500 to DFA. Doctors for America listed Planned Parenthood as a “partner organization” alongside National Abortion Federation and Texas Abortion Funds.
Doctors for America’s chair, Krishnan Narasimhan, is a Democratic Party donor who compared Trump to “foreign authoritarians.”
Doctors for America’s vice president, Meghana Rao, is a longtime Democratic Party supporter who has repeatedly warned about the alleged danger of religion eroding women’s rights and the right to medical care.
Doctors for America’s treasurer, Jeff Huebner, is a frequent Democratic Party donor.