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President Trump on Thursday again falsely claimed that doctors are inflating COVID-19 death numbers for financial gain, which the American Medical Association called "malicious, outrageous, and completely misguided."
Speaking at a campaign rally in Michigan, Trump repeated a baseless conspiracy theory that hospitals are profiting by falsifying higher death rates for the virus that has killed more than 229,000 Americans, including 45 Michigan residents just one day before his event on Thursday.
"Our doctors get more money if someone dies from COVID, you know that right?" Trump said. "I mean, our doctors are very smart people."
In a statement following the president's comments, the American Medical Association pushed back on the false claim.
“Throughout this pandemic, physicians, nurses, and frontline health care workers have risked their health, their safety and their lives to treat their patients and defeat a deadly virus," Susan R. Bailey, the association's president, said in a statement. "They did it because duty called and because of the sacred oath they took.
"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.
"COVID-19 cases are at record highs today. Rather than attacking us and 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.”
Earlier this week at a rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Trump also baselessly claimed doctors were overcounting COVID-19 deaths.
"If somebody’s terminally ill with cancer, and they have COVID, we report them," Trump said. "And you know, doctors get more money and hospitals get more money. Think of this incentive."
After the comments in Wisconsin, the American Medical Association also pushed back.
"Let's be clear," the American Medical Association responded at the time. "Physicians are not inflating the number of COVID-19 patients."
The American College of Emergency Physicians also said it was "appalled by President Trump’s reckless and false assertions that physicians are overcounting deaths related to COVID-19."
"To imply that emergency physicians would inflate the number of deaths from this pandemic to gain financially is offensive, especially as many are actually under unprecedented financial strain as they continue to bear the brunt of COVID-19," the group said. "These 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.”