GOP's Remedy for Obamacare Ailments: Elect More Doctors

Monday, 02 Dec 2013 02:34 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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The Republican Party says it has a remedy for Obamacare program ailments, but it apparently requires the election of more doctors to be administered properly.

No less than 11 GOP physicians are running for the Senate next year "hoping," according to The Hill, "that voters will see their medical expertise as an asset amid the administration's botched rollout of Obamacare."

If elected, they would join three other GOP doctors currently serving in the chamber. Thirteen Republican doctors also currently serve in the House. By comparison, only four Democrats in the House hold medical degrees, including the delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the American Medical Association's Patients' Action Network.

The candidates interviewed by The Hill cited doctors’ abilities to directly understand the coupling of healthcare and finances as well as their training to fix what is broken.

“For doctors, instead of arguing about things, the whole goal is to find an answer,” said Dr. Monica Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon running for the Senate in Oregon. “We’re trained to be logical thinkers, making our decisions based on evidence as opposed to ideologically, or based on emotion.”

A 2012 Gallup survey rated medical doctors as the third most trustworthy profession behind nurses and pharmacists. Conversely, members of Congress ranked second from the bottom, only above car salespeople.
Since 1901, only 11 physicians have been elected or appointed to the Senate, according to the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The Senate did not count a medical doctor among its ranks for 26 years until heart and lung transplant surgeon Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, took office in 1993.

With Obamacare front and center of the political debate, Republicans think medical doctors are best suited to convey to voters the boondoggle that is Obamacare.Shrinking networks, restricting out-of-network payments and hospitals and a one-size-fits-all model are just some of the concerns worrying doctors.

“The most powerful thing I have to understand now is the rules of Medicaid and Medicare – not the rules of medicine,” Annette Bosworth, a GOP doctor running for the Senate in South Dakota, told The Hill. Bosworth, an internist, says physicians are “master communicators” better equipped than professional politicians to deal with the healthcare crisis.

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