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2 distinct FL voices at AMA

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

By Carol Gentry
6/15/2010 © Health News Florida

Even as Winter Park internist Cecil Wilson stands to take over as president of the American Medical Association, a more controversial Florida physician is also running for AMA office: St. Petersburg neurosurgeon David McKalip.

The vote is today.

McKalip, who came in for national criticism last year for forwarding an e-mail that pictured President Obama as a witchdoctor, has become an outspoken opponent of the national health reform law and favors overturning it. He is also a stalwart in the anti-tax movement.
McKalip is running for the AMA's Council on Medical Service on a platform that blasts both government and insurance companies. He calls for overturning "economically unsustainable entitlement programs," the requirement that all individuals obtain health insurance, and plans that "would increase health insurance premiums and medical costs, ...allow government and corporate rationing of medical care and ...put the government and corporations directly in between the patient and their doctors."
McKalip states that the reform law will "lead to more suffering, shorter lives and more cost for Americans and our society."

Meanwhile, Wilson -- along with most of the AMA establishment -- backs the law because it will cover at least 32 million uninsured patients and encourage "medical homes" and other projects the AMA favors. On Sunday, Wilson gave an interview in which he credits Pres. Obama for placing health reform at the top of his agenda.

As Wilson told the annual Healthcare Summit of South Florida earlier this month, he could not support the effort by Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is suing in federal court to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

As the Miami Herald reported, Wilson said, ``It would be easy to adopt a reactionary stance. But with 46 million uninsured, for the first time in decades, we are making progress.'' 

The gap between Wilson and McKalip shows the extremes of opinion being voiced at this year's AMA conference. 

--Editor Carol Gentry can be reached at 727-410-3266 or by e-mail.