Not One of the Nineteen Doctors in Congress Support Single Payer

Polls show that the majority of Americans favor a single payer Medicare for All system, similar to the one adopted by most industrialized countries – everybody in, nobody out, no premiums, no deductibles, free choice of doctor and hospital. 

The majority of doctors in most polls support single payer. 

But historically, the main organization of physicians and medical students in the United States – the American Medical Association – has opposed it. 

Back in the 1960s, when there was an early push to create Medicare for seniors, doctors hired Ronald Reagan to help defeat the idea. 

“One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people, has been by way of medicine,” Reagan said at the time. “It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project.” 

In 2019, the student section of the AMA forced a vote on single payer. During the debate, Dr. Donald Palmisano, of Metaire, Louisiana, who served as AMA president in 2003-04, said – “I think we ought to put a stake in the heart of single payer. We’ve done it before and we ought to do it again.” The measure was defeated 53 percent to 47 percent. 

But that’s still 47 percent of doctors in the most conservative doctors’ organization in the United States voting for it. 

So then how do you explain this? 

Of the nineteen physicians who serve United States Congress – fifteen members of the House and four Senators, sixteen Republicans and three Democrats – there is zero support single payer. 

That’s according to a survey conducted by the Capitol Hill Citizen and reported in the February/March 2024 issue. 

“The fact that none of the physicians in Congress support Medicare for All indicates just how out of step those legislators are with their constituents and with physicians,” Dr. Philip Verhoef, President of Physicians for a National Health Program, told Capitol Hill Citizen. “These physicians know full well that our system isn’t working for doctors or patients.” “Poll after poll indicates that both the majority of physicians and the public support single payer – it’s equitable, it saves money, it’s much easier to navigate, and it will remove the barriers to care currently faced by so many in this country.” 

There are no Republicans in Congress – physician or not – who support single payer. 

One hundred and twelve Democrats in the House have signed onto the single payer bill there (HR 3421). 

Not on the list are the three Democratic physicians in the House. 

Fourteen Senators – all Democrats – have signed onto the single payer bill in the Senate – (S. 1655). 

The nineteen doctors who don’t support single payer are:

Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) Medical speciality: Orthopedic surgery.

Congressman Ami Bera (D-California) Medical speciality: Internal medicine.

Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-Indiana) Medical speciality: Thoracic surgery.

Congressman Michael Burgess (R-Texas) Medical specialty: Obstetrics and gynecology. 

Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo (D-Colorado) Medical speciality: Pediatrics. 

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) Medical speciality: Gastroenterology.

Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-Tennessee) Medical speciality: Family medicine.

Congressman Neal Dunn (R-Florida) Medical speciality: Urology.

Congressman Mark Green (R-Tennessee) Medical speciality: Emergency medicine.

Congressman Andy Harris (R-Maryland) Medical speciality: Anesthesiology.

Congressman Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) Medical specialty: Emergency medicine.

Congressman John Joyce (R-Pennsylvania) Medical speciality: Dermatology. 

Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) Medical speciality: Obstetrics and gynecology.

Congressman Rich McCormick (R-Georgia) Medical speciality: Emergency medicine. 

Congresswoman Mariannette Miller- Meeks(R-Iowa) Medical specialty: Ophthalmology.

Congressman Greg Murphy (R-North Carolina) Medical specialty: Urology.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) Medical specialty: Ophthalmology.

Congressman Raul Ruiz (D-California) Medical specialty: Emergency medicine

Congresswoman Kim Schrier (D-Washington) Medical speciality: Pediatrics.