If healthcare providers were in charge of Washington, would there be less gridlock? Probably not, at least if those providers were doctors.
A House—and Senate—divided by doctors
Eighteen of the 19 physicians in Congress are Republican, but they were almost split down the middle on the debt-ceiling vote, with 10 voting yes and nine voting no. In the Senate, doctors voted 2-1 against the debt-ceiling agreement, while doctors in the House voted 9-7 in favor.
There are three Democrat and three Republican nurses in the House, and they voted 5-1 in favor of the measure.
Among other healthcare professionals, psychologist Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) voted in favor, as did physician assistant Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.).
Several posted statements on their websites, but Dr. Tom Coburn, (R-Okla.), affectionately known in the U.S. Senate as "Dr. No," was given a column in the Washington Post to explain his vote against the agreement. He wrote, "This deal is a victory for politicians but a defeat for families."
Coburn added, "It eliminates no program, consolidates no duplicative programs, cuts no tax earmarks and reforms no entitlement program." He never specifically mentioned healthcare or Medicare—though he did note that "both sides will have to sacrifice their sacred cows and embrace real entitlement reform and tax reform."
Below is the congressional healthcare roster and members' votes on the debt-ceiling pact. If I missed anyone, please forward me their names:
Senate physicians: John Barasso (R-Wyo., orthopedic surgeon), yes; Tom Coburn (R-Okla., family physician/ob-gyn), no; and Rand Paul, (R-Ky., ophthalmologist), no.
House physicians: Dan Benishek (R-Mich., general surgeon), yes; Charles Boustany (R-La., cardiovascular surgeon), yes; Paul Broun (R-Ga., family physician), no; Larry Bucshon (R-Ind., thoracic surgeon), yes; Michael Burgess (R-Texas, ob-gyn), yes; Bill Cassidy (R-La., gastroenterologist), yes; Scott DesJaris (R-Tenn., family physician), no; John Fleming (R-La., family physician), no; Phil Gingrey (R-Ga., ob-gyn), no; Andy Harris (R-Md., anesthesiologist), no; Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y., ophthalmologist), yes; Joe Heck (R-Nev., emergency medicine), yes; Jim McDermott (D-Wash., psychiatrist), no; Ron Paul (R-Texas, ob-gyn), no; Tom Price (R-Ga., orthopedic surgeon), yes; and Phil Roe (R-Tenn., ob-gyn), yes.
House nurses: Diane Black (R-Tenn., emergency medicine), yes; Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y., hospital and school nurse), no; Lois Capps (D-Calif., hospital and school nurse), yes; Renee Ellmers (R-N.C., surgical intensive care), yes; Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas, hospital nurse), yes; and Carolyn McCarthy, (D-N.Y., licensed practical nurse), yes.
Other: Rep. Karen Bass, (D-Calif.,physician assistant), yes; and Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa., psychologist), yes.
Follow Andis Robezieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks.
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