Bill would pierce right-to-work

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Docs could be made to join advocacy group

Manufacturers such as Boeing are said to be drawn to South Carolina because it’s a right-to-work state, something state political leaders tout. It’s spelled out in state law: “The right of persons to work must not be denied or abridged because of membership or non-membership in a labor union or labor organization.”

Not everyone holds that right to be universal, apparently. In the last session of the General Assembly, and again in this one, Senator Gerald Malloy filed a bill to amend the law, stating “that a physician must be a member of the South Carolina Medical Association to practice medicine in this state.”

For a physician to practice in South Carolina now, he or she must be licensed by the state Board of Medical Examiners in return for an annual fee of $77.50

The Medical Association is a private, non-profit advocacy group. Membership for physicians is $395 a year.

There are somewhere near 11,000 physicians practicing in South Carolina (there were 10,250 in 2014, according to the Association of American Medical Schools). The Medical Association currently has 5,388 members, most of whom are physicians. If Senator Malloy’s bill were to be enacted, the association would likely get another $2 million a year in compulsory dues.

Asked if he could explain the reason for the legislation, Senator Malloy, a Democrat from Darlington, responding by email, said his bill is designed to “initiate… discussion.”

In that regard, apart from The Nerve‘s inquiry, it seems to have failed. Declining to discuss the matter further, Malloy wrote, “Write as appropriate.”

J.C. Nicholson, the Medical Association’s general counsel, speaking by phone, said flatly, “It’s not our idea.”

The Medical Association has no relationship with the bill, Nicholson continued. “We’re not going to do anything to help its passage.” The association would love to have more members, he added, but only voluntarily.

The Medical Association has advocated and lobbied in the past in favor of such things as telemedicine and medical marijuana.

Dr. Henry Jordan, a surgeon in Cheraw, called Malloy’s bill “bad news.” The association, Jordan said, “has some policies that I’m absolutely opposed to, and that’s why I don’t belong.”

In a right-to-work state such as South Carolina, that’s why Jordan doesn’t have to belong — which makes Senator Malloy’s attempt to make him join all the more confounding.

Nerve stories are always free to reprint and repost. We only ask that you credit The Nerve.


  • GusPhilpott

    Malloy is so wrong. He should be laughed out of South Carolina.

  • cnb

    You can’t fix stupid

  • andnowyoudont

    Term limits or recall, anyone? Or, how about closing primaries!! All are simple remedies (which we don’t have, oddly) for pols who ignore their own oath to uphold the constitution- of the state AND the nation! Illiterate? Incompetent? Or, maybe… ill intent. THAT “basket of despicables” (not deplorables!) is overflowing; nepotism, kickbacks, pay-to-play, oath-breakers… Just sayin’. Thanks to The Nerve for keeping us aware and informed!!

  • johnkay

    So what is Malloy’s intent with this bill (other than to spawn conversation)? If he wants physicians to follow the ethics rules of the AMA, then consider adding the ethics rules into the legislation, not require membership to the organization (similar to the way veterinary practice is currently set up)

  • Anthony Domagala

    In 2000, myself and 2 colleagues relocated to this state to erect multiple greenfield aero ventures for our worldwide aero Corp. We did so at great personal expense, worked 80 HR weeks, slept at Trident Tech, and trained locals to man same facilities. The FAA in Columbia sang our praises and awarded us with swag year after year for our efforts and success in elevating Lowcountry house wives into decorated (non UAW/non IAM/non SPEEA) Aviation Maintenance Technicians! We had successfully shaken all attempts of organizing which were driven by the unions we had escaped in 2000. The only unions we experienced in this state, were state/fed employees. This is clearly just another example of double standards in this corrupt state. As long you work on a privately owned corporate plantation, you have the right to work. However, if your a member of the public servant elite (ODrama care based in this case), you must sell your soul to the secret Union society of elitists… Sing their praises, and walk inline…

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