When new members of Congress are sworn in this January, there will be a total of 19 doctors in Congress – 3 Senators and 16 Congresspersons. That will be a 27% increase over 2009,from 15 to 19, in doctor members of Congress. These doctors will make up 3.5% of the 535 members of Congress, but will fall far short of the 10.7% who were signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Eighteen of the 19 new members are Republican. This may say something of the mood of America towards health reform, but it may have little effect on whether the health reform bill is repealed or retained in its present form.
Fifteen of the 19 are from the South or West, 5 are Ob-Gyn specialists, and 12 represent specialties who perform surgery. What this means or portends I do not know. Perhaps they will not hesitate to perform surgery on the bloated national budget and cut deficits. I take solace in recent polls, which indicate 77% of the public trust doctors to do right thing vs. 11% who trust Congress.
Here is the list of the 19 doctors in Congress:
- Tom Coburn (R, Republican), Oklahoma, family physician and ob-gyn
- John Barasso (R, Wyoming), orthopedic surgeon New Senator
- Rand Paul, (R, Kentucky), ophthalmologist
- John Boustany ( R, Louisiana), cardiovascular surgeon
- John Fleming (R, Louisiana), family physician
- Bill Cassidy (R, Louisiana), gastroenterologist
- Tom Price, (R, Georgia), orthopedic surgeon
- Paul Brown (R, Georgia), family physician
- Phil Gingrey(R,Georgia), Ob-Gyn
- Ron Paul (R, Texas), Ob-Gyn
- Michael Burgess(R, Texas), Ob-Gyn
- David “Phil” Roe (R, Tennessee), Ob-Gyn
- Jim McDermott (D, Washington), psychiatrist
New House members
- Larry Bucshon (R, Indiana), thoracic surgeon
- Andy Harris (R, Maryland), anesthesiologist
- Dan Benishek (R, Michigan), general surgeon
- Nan Hayworth (R, New York), ophthalmologist
- Scott DesJaris (R, Tennessee), family physician
- Joe Heck (R., Nevada). emergency room physician
Richard L. Reece, MD, is pathologist, editor, author, speaker, innovator, and believer in abilities of practicing doctors and their patients to control and improve their health destinies through innovation. He is author of eleven books. Dr. Reece posts frequently at his blog, Medinnovation.