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Opinion: Physicians in Congress—A prescription for better health policy?

Health Affairs, March 6, 2014

Physicians in Congress are on the rise. From 1960 to 2004, only 25 of the 2196 members of Congress were physicians. During an era that brought such fundamental changes to health policy as the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, physicians were disproportionately less likely to hold congressional office than their counterparts in law (979) and in business (298). In recent years, the ranks of physician-representatives have swelled—twenty physicians currently hold seats in the 113th Congress. This surge in membership comes at a crucial time, for health care has become a defining issue in American politics. The passage of the Affordable Care Act has divided the nation and brought party relations to a standstill.