August 28th, 2009
01:58 PM ET
14 years ago

GOP Senate doctors on health care road show

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The only two medical doctors currently in the Senate, both Republicans, are using the August congressional recess to take their two-month old, twice weekly health care reform Webcast on the road."](CNN) - The only two medical doctors currently in the Senate, both Republicans, are using the August congressional recess to take their two-month old, twice weekly health care reform Webcast on the road across America's heartland - an itinerary that appears designed to pressure on some of their more moderate Democratic Senate colleagues from Nebraska, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

"I think we may bring a little bit more judgment and credibility to what's really going on in this debate and the problems in health care," Oklahoma Sen. and family practice physician Tom Coburn told CNN.

Along with Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, an orthopedic surgeon, Coburn launched "The Senate Doctors Show" in early July. Twice a week, the two doctors sit down and film a roughly 20-minute segment where they answer questions about health care reform submitted by the public via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and through "man-on-the-street" video interviews of Capitol Hill visitors.

This week, the two men hit the road. Wednesday, Coburn and Barrasso were in Omaha, Nebraska where they visited an intensive care unit and taped an episode of their Webcast with a live audience. Thursday, the two men split the day between a morning town hall in Bentonville, Arkansas and two afternoon events in northern Mississippi - another taping of their production with a live audience and a hospital visit. Friday, the two doctors are set to join fellow Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana and three House Republicans from the state at a town hall meeting in Kenner, Louisiana. Vitter will also join Coburn and Barrasso on a tour of a New Orleans medical facility.

Three of the four states for this week's tour don't appear to be coincidental.

"I don't think it is a surprise that the Coburn and Barrasso health tour has made stops in Nebraska, Arkansas and now Louisiana," says CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. "This is clearly an effort to put pressure on the Democratic senators who represent these three states."

Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana are considered potential swing votes on the final version of the health care bill being weighed by Congress.

Coburn pointed out that Mississippi has two Republican senators, but also conceded that politics is playing some role in the choice of the other stops in this week's road show. "We would love for the people of Arkansas and Nebraska to know the details" of the health care reform bills under consideration in Congress, Coburn said.

Pointing to his own health care reform legislation co-sponsored with Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina and rejected by Democrats during a committee markup, Coburn rejected the suggestion that Republicans have not offered their own affirmative proposals for reforming the nation's health care system.

Coburn said the reform legislation he co-sponsored would increase coverage and save government at the state and federal levels billions of dollars over the first seven years.

The family practice physician also said he does not support non-profit health insurance cooperatives which are under consideration by a bipartisan group of negotiators in the Senate Finance Committee as an alternative to a public health insurance option favored by many House Democrats. The co-ops are "a disguise of a government-run program," in Coburn's view because "on a regional basis, it's still going to have the same mandates being dictated to us by the federal government."

"There are other ways to solve this problem without the federal government running it," Coburn said, pointing to his own bill with Burr.

Filed under: Arkansas • Health care • Louisiana • Mississippi • Nebraska
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Lynne

    Are they going to dispell the myths of "death panels' and all the other lies that the insurance companies are propagating? Who exactly is funding these little junkets?

    August 28, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Richard

    What do they know about the health insurance profit off of sick people program?

    Not interested in their opion unless they worked for the HMO's.

    August 28, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. must be slow at the hospital

    no patients?

    worried about making your large profit?

    certainly the welfare of the electorate is not your reason

    August 28, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. mjm

    I just read the summary of the legislation. It had some good ideas. We were told there was no legislation from the republicans. That doesn't seem to be the case.

    I just read Sen. Jim DeMint's summary of The Health Care Choice Act. That had some great ideas.

    Why are we not hearing more about that?

    I don't understand why all these other ideas are rejected by the Democrats.

    Maybe the Dems reject ideas because they don't cost 1.6 trillion and put the power in the hand of the government

    August 28, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Truth Hurts

    Nobody Health plan is going to work or be perfect, but we just can't sit back and do nothing. The economy is so bad and the healthcare system is so broke, we have to do something!! Republicans need to stop complaining and think of some positive ways to help!!

    August 28, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Eddie

    All you Libs need to read history and understand what made this nation great was NOT what is flowing in the veins of you Liberal Democrats was the spirit of "going it on your on" a true "work ethic" and an entrepanurial spirit of being rewarded for "acheiving", and not being rewarded simply for "being"!
    You Libs are very good at spending "other folks" money! Everyone does NOT have a "right" to have everything of what others have worked for.....or maybe you just believe in "repartation"!

    August 28, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |

    They need to bring the show to Iowa. I see now that since Obama cant get his death squads going that he is using Democratic Governors to do his job, In Iowa Governor Culvers is Obamas pick for the Obama Care Death Panels because Culvers is sending out old age planning info from the Governors Office.

    August 28, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Gee, I wonder what side of the issue they'll come down on?!

    I hope they don't treat patients via TV (Terri Schiavo) like Senator Frist from Tennessee did – what a farce that was!!!

    August 28, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  9. rich

    All republicans care about is Rich people and the promotion of hate. They do not care that people are going bankrupt everyday because of health care costs.

    August 28, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Ken

    Who would want these two anti-science, anti-evolution, anti-reality psudo-educated cretins to take their child's tonsils out? And we're supposed to listen to their rightwing drivel on health care reform?

    August 28, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. Frank

    If they bring "judgment and credibility" to the debate (when they aren't defending those who bring guns), then why isn't the AMA's endorsement of the Democratic reform plan all the more credible?

    August 28, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Bill from Baltimore

    Unless these guys start talking about real reform of health insurance companies and the policies they sell, they have no creditibility at all. This debate isn't about American Doctors...they are amoung the best in the world. The dabate is about providing coverage that is fair and in the public interest. How that public interest is serve by unregulated insurance companies is beyond me. How that public interest is serve by Insurance Company Executives making 7 and 8 figure incomes is beyond we can allow them to have "pre existing" conditions clause and pay only "usual and customary" fees determined by themselves is beyond me...How the GOP gets lower income and lower educated people to buy their deception is beyond me.

    August 28, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. addon

    ...and we should listen to them because....?

    The GOP represents the most heartless part of our country. It appears the only thing of importance for the GOP is to make sure that we never spend a single dime, or take care of a single needy american with government assistance.

    Are they actually citizens of Iraq? Because we spent trillions for those citizens...not to mention the lives lost

    August 28, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. matt

    I don't know much, but when it comes to my health care I am going to listen to my doctor. I would much rather listen to what the only 2 doctors in the entire Senate has to say on the matter of health care reform, than listen to Pelosi who has no idea what it is like to be a doctor, or actively involved in any aspect of health care besides being a patient. I want reform and these two know what their talking about.

    August 28, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. BK

    Isn't this akin to the Foxes (the ones guarding the Hen House) going out and stating that Hen House securty does not need to be fixed

    August 28, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  16. Jane Lexington, KY

    Whatever happened to the hypocratic oath and the pledge to do no harm? There is something so oxymoronic in physicians working so hard to maintain the status quo and its outrageous profits for some while 40-50 million people go to sleep every night praying that they don't get eaten alive by these profit-driven creeps.

    August 28, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. J.L. n MD.

    Because they are both republicans I think they couldn't bring an honest opinion to this debute. Also does that mean they have not recieved any money from the Insurance industry? NO!

    August 28, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. Kate in San Diego

    Oh yes, I am going to believe every word these fellows tell me. After all, they have no axe to grind, do they?

    August 28, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. Pepou

    Thank God these two are not MY doctors.

    August 28, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. Marty, Grand Rapids Mi

    Submit your bill to the CBO or shut up. Anything less and you are promoting hot air.

    August 28, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. michael (dallas)

    "I think we may bring a little bit more judgment and credibility to what's really going on in this debate and the problems in health care," Oklahoma Sen. and family practice physician Tom Coburn told CNN.

    and then you surround yourself with only other republicans, essentially erasing anything but the label "partisan" from your events.

    thanks, but try harder next time.

    August 28, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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