Family Practice News: Head for the Hill: ACA Pushes More Doctors onto the BallotJune 30th
Increasingly, it’s not Mr. Smith who goes to Washington – it’s Dr. Smith.
Currently, 20 physicians serve in the 112th Congress: 3 in the Senate and 17 in the House.
This year, 42 doctors are running for a seat in the next Congress; 17 of those are seeking reelection, according to the American Medical Association.
While their reasons for suspending their medical careers in favor of public service vary, many say the steady increase of physician legislators is largely because of the Affordable Care Act.
"This is likely a tectonic shift that has now occurred," said Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Tex.), a gynecologist seeking reelection in that state’s 26th district. "Historically, doctors have been so busy taking care of their patients, raising their families, running their offices that they haven’t paid a lot of attention to politics. But [it’s the] issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act, [that have] driven this."
Dr. John McGoff, an emergency physician running to represent Indiana’s 5th congressional district, said that he believes doctors running for office think the ACA allows for too much government control of health care and threatens the doctor-patient relationship.
"I think most people would like to get back to how it was in the old days, where there was a patient-physician relationship and you didn’t have an insurance company or some type of government entity in between," Dr. McGoff, a Republican, said in an interview.