The American Medical Association and health workers criticized President Donald Trump's "malicious, outrageous, and completely misguided" comments that doctors are inflating the number of deaths from the coronavirus for profit. During his rally in Waterford Township, Michigan Friday, Trump claimed doctors "get more money if somebody dies from COVID" and accused doctors of listing the virus as the cause of death for patients "when in doubt." Trump made similar baseless claims during a Waukesha, Wisconsin rally on Oct. 24.
"Our doctors get more money if someone dies from COVID," Trump told supporters in Michigan. "You know that, right? I mean our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say 'I'm sorry but everybody dies of COVID.'" There is no evidence to support this theory. In fact, experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe the 299,028 deaths recorded between late January and Oct. 3 may be an underestimate. According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. death toll stands at 230,843 as of Sunday, with over 9.18 million confirmed cases.
Trump: You know, our doctors get more money if someone dies from COVID
Truth: I took a 20% pay cut due to less patients. Lost 3 colleagues & 27 y.o. cousin. Cried countless times delivering news of deaths to families. I'm doing more for the U.S. than you!pic.twitter.com/YA6bCZ1Bzh— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) October 30, 2020
In response to Trump's comments, American Medical Association President Susan R. Bailey, M.D. noted how doctors and nurses have risked their own health and safety to treat their patients. "The suggestion that doctors — in the midst of a public health crisis — are overcounting COVID-19 patients or lying to line their pockets is a malicious, outrageous, and completely misguided charge," Bailey wrote. Instead of "lobbing baseless charges at physicians, "our leaders should be following the science and urging adherence to the public health steps we know work — wearing a mask, washing hands, and practicing physical distancing," Bailey added.
In Wisconsin late last month, Trump told supporters doctors "get more money and hospitals get more money" if they record someone died from the coronavirus instead of their comorbidity, a claim that has already been debunked. Doctors and other health workers flooded social media to call out Trump for his comments. "For healthcare workers, it’s really exhausting to have a president constantly working against us - instead of with us — in the middle of a pandemic," Craig Spencer, the Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, tweeted.
Donald I get paid the same either way—though some damn hazard pay would be effin’ nice.
Also, unlike some people, I pay my taxes. https://t.co/ymct4SK0uc— Jeremy Faust MD MS (ER physician) (@jeremyfaust) October 25, 2020
The American College of Emergency Physicians said Trump's claims about over-counting deaths were "reckless and false." The group said the "baseless claims not only do a disservice to our health care heroes but promulgate the dangerous wave of misinformation which continues to hinder our nation’s efforts to get the pandemic under control and allow our nation to return to normalcy."