Kaiser Health News/The Washington Post, January 19, 2011
The November elections added seven medical doctors and one dentist to Congress's white-coat caucus. All are Republicans who criticized the law during their campaigns. Altogether, the 112th Congress has 20 doctors, including five surgeons, five gynecologists, two ophthalmologists and a psychiatrist, according to the AMA. It also has two dentists. Only two of the doctors are Democrats. Some of the newly elected doctors won their seats with help from the tea party, which is pressing for smaller government, tax cuts and a repeal of the health law. The doctor-lawmakers offer GOP leaders a valuable asset in hammering the health law and its Democratic supporters, especially President Obama. "There's no question that when you've got a practitioner talking about problems that he or she anticipates in treating patients because of healthcare reform, those people speak with much greater authority," said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University.