Politics

New wave of House Republicans includes several health care professionals who ran against ObamaCare

The Republicans gave the Democrats a historic spanking election night in the House of Representatives — netting over 60 seats, taking the majority, and leaving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to contemplate a variation on Charlton Heston’s “from my cold dead hands” declaration.

Notably, out of those 60 plus Republican seats, nine of the newly elected Republicans are or were health care professionals. Many of the health care professionals elected to Congress Tuesday ran on a platform in opposition to President Barack Obama’s new health care law — giving those anti-Obamacare adherents even more to smile about this week.

The nine House newbies include: Larry Bucshon, an Indiana thoracic surgeon;  Joe Heck, a Nevada physician; Dan Benishek, a surgeon from Michigan; Renee Ellmers, a North Carolina nurse; Scott DesJarlais, a Tennessee general practitioner; Diane Black, a Tennessee nurse; Paul Gosar, a dentist in Arizona; Andy Harris, an anesthesiologist in Maryland; and Nan Hayworth, a New York ophthalmologist.

These newly elected congressmen vocally stood in opposition to the president’s new health care law. Bucshon, for example, told Byron York in March that Obama’s plan would bring down the entire health care system.

“[Obamacare] will basically decimate the health care system in America,” he told York. “The number of doctors who are going to retire, and the number of young people who are no longer going to go into medicine, will be massive.”

Ellmers also voiced support for repealing Obamacare. “One of my main objectives when going to Washington is to work on the repeal of the health care bill,” she told The Daily Caller in September.

Robert Moffit, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, contends that the increase of medical practitioners in the House was a huge development, not just for repeal of Obama’s health care law, but also for the makeup of Congress generally.

“I think it is tremendous, I think it is a great development, largely because Congress has been dominated for so long by members of the legal profession,” he told TheDC. “It also is an indication of how the American Medical Association and professional medical organizations have failed to represent their own constituents. What is happening here is that members of the medical community are beginning to these issues into their own hands. They do not trust their lobbyist in Washington.”

Paul Lindsay, National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman, said that he is pleased not only with the overall outcome, but also the experience the new members will be bringing with them.

“These are dedicated professionals who will bring a depth of experience to Congress, as well first-hand knowledge of America’s healthcare needs,” he said. “Their input will be critical as Republicans consider how to repeal and replace ObamaCare with a system that works.”

Georgia Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey, co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus, told The Daily Caller that the new congressmen will be a net gain.

“The issues facing our health care system are complex and solutions to these problems require an intimate understanding of how the system works.  Medical professionals – like the members of the GOP doctors  are uniquely qualified to offer solutions for what ails our health care system,” he wrote in an email to TheDC. “They have spent their professional lives caring for patients both in their practices and here in Washington.  As we look forward to the coming Congress and our efforts to repeal ObamaCare, physician members of Congress are uniquely qualified to put forth solutions.”

*Correction: a previous version of this story incorrectly identified Paul Gosar’s state.