By J. D. Heyes
Political science is not medical science, obviously, and it may seem odd to have physicians running for Congress. But because of the disaster that is Obamacare, some doctors are hanging up their stethoscopes in exchange for your vote.
In all, eleven doctors are running as Republicans for the U.S. Senate, in a bid to use their medical expertise to convince voters that they would be an asset against the backdrop of a flopped Obamacare law.
“Doctors are in a very unique position to look at the financing of healthcare,” Rep. Paul Broun, a family physician running for the GOP nomination for Georgia’s open Senate seat, told The Hill, which covers Congress.
“We go into medicine for one reason, and one reason only: Because we care about people, we want the people who we serve to have a productive, happy, healthy life,” he said. “That’s the kind of policymaker we should have in place in dealing with healthcare policy.”
Three GOP doctors in the Senate already
Physicians from North Carolina to Oregon are running in Senate races, and all are holding up their medical experience as proof that they can repair the damage of Obamacare.
As reported by The Hill:
It’s not unusual for doctors to seek elected office. But it’s not necessarily typical for them to win, however. The Senate counts only three physicians in its ranks. Last year, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, a Democrat who ran largely on his record in medicine, lost to now-Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John Barrasso of Wyoming are the chamber’s three; all are Republicans.
In 2012, a Gallup survey rated medical doctors as the third most trustworthy profession, below nurses and pharmacists. So a doctor running for office – especially as Obamacare continues to ravage the public – may prove advantageous for the party whose members all voted against it.
John McDonough, director of the Center for Public Health Leadership at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, told The Hill that having the letters “MD” behind your name gives you instant credibility when the issue turns to healthcare. And it also boosts a candidate’s personal credibility.
“A physician license is almost always a plus in the public’s mind in terms of one’s credibility,” he said.
He went on to say that, with the Affordable Care Act in particular, “people would probably listen more closely to an office holder or a candidate’s position” if that candidate were a doctor or nurse.
Some of the physician-candidates interviewed by the congressional newspaper said they had personal skills acquired over years of medical practice.
For doctors, finding the answer is important
As reported by The Hill:
Monica Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon running for Senate in Oregon against Sen. Jeff Merkley (D), said physicians’ problem-solving skills make them well suited for elected office.
“For doctors, instead of arguing about things, the whole goal is to find an answer,” she told the paper. “We’re trained to be logical thinkers, making our decisions based on evidence as opposed to ideologically, or based on emotion.”
GOP candidate Annette Bosworth is an internist running for the Senate in South Dakota. She compared Congress to a team of physicians and nurses working in an intensive care unit, where communication among those taking care of patients was vital.
“The reason we are broken is the communication that should be happening on Capitol Hill isn’t. The country is in serious trouble because those leaders are stuck,” she told The Hill. “But what is the advanced skill of physicians? We’re master communicators. We’re always thinking, how can I navigate through this while still keeping my eye on the goal?”
But she will have an uphill battle against the Republican establishment’s preferred candidate – former Gov. Mike Rounds.
Most of the candidates say they are running in large part to oppose Obamacare.
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