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Doctor-Turned-Lawmaker Opposes Public Health Care Option

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Name: Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.)

The chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, Price earned a degree in medicine from the University of Michigan before running an orthopedic clinic in Atlanta for 20 years. He also served as medical director of the Orthopedic Clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, teaching resident doctors-in-training. After serving as the first-ever Republican Majority Leader in the Georgia State Senate, Price successfully ran for Congress in 2004.

Price joined a "GOP Doctors' Caucus" earlier this year along with fellow Georgia Republicans--and physicians--Reps. John Linder and Phil Gingrey. Price represents Georgia's most affluent and highly educated district, the 6th Congressional District, which sent former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to Congress from 1979 until 1999. Price serves on two House committees: Financial Services and Education and Labor.

Money Summary: Price has raised $6.2 million since the beginning of the 2004 cycle. During the 2008 cycle, he raised $1.6 million. His opponent at the time raised a mere $643,000. Price outraised his 2006 opponent by a ratio of nearly 20 to 1. Yet only during his first run did Price raise more than $2 million. Price has never faced any serious electoral challenge during his three terms, running unopposed in 2004. He secured 72 and 68 percent of the vote, respectively, in the next two elections.

Campaign Donors:
The list of Price's top contributors reads like a roster of America's medical groups. Out of Price's 20 all-time leading donors, only five aren't related to the medical field. Since 1989, only 19 other lawmakers have received more money from the entire health sector than Price. Over the past two cycles, he has ranked among the top 10 recipients of health sector cash among members of the House.

Health professionals have supplied 29 percent of Price's all-time war chest. He is the sixth all-time leading recipient of contributions from this group, and the third among members of the House. He even ranks above Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a licensed physician. In 2006, only one other House member received more from health professionals than Price. In 2008, only two hauled in more.

Medical trade associations Resurgens Orthopaedics and the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons rank one-two in terms of Price's all-time largest donors, giving him $135,000 and $58,500, respectively. And insurance giant AFLAC, one of the Center for Responsive Politics's "Heavy Hitters," has given Price $40,500 during his career.

Industry Favors:
"Congressman Price is a devoted public servant and a tremendous supporter of the orthopaedic community and our patients," said Dr. Peter J. Mandell, chair of the Council on Advocacy at the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "Because our members share a similar perspective and history with Rep. Price, a unique two-way relationship exists that allows our members--including those outside of his district--to discuss legislation and issues pertaining to our profession and our patients."

On Health Care Reform:
Price staunchly opposes government intervention in the health care field. According to, a nonpartisan research database, Price has voted against giving mental health insurance equity with physical health insurance, backed former President Bush's veto of the SCHIP expansion, and spoken out against medical malpractice lawsuits. The congressman achieved scores of 0 and 33 from the American Public Health Association in 2008 and 2007, indicating that he very infrequently supports more government funding and regulation of health care programs.

The congressman has supported reducing Medicare costs facing doctors, and increasing payments for home oxygen treatments. During the 110th Congress, he worked with Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) to promote health care innovation and reform at the state level, opposed to the federal level.

Other Money Matters:
Price also operates a leadership PAC, Voice for Freedom, which has already raised $31,400 this year. Last cycle, the committee raised $172,000. At that time, the leadership PAC supported conservatives such as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) who oppose the public health insurance option, along with a few moderates including Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.). In the 2008 cycle, six medical trade associations, including the American Colleges of Cardiology and Radiology, among others, each donated $10,000 to Voice for Freedom. Three medical associations also gave $7,500, while four others, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, an all-time top donor to Congress, gave the PAC $5,000.

In His Own Words:
As far back as last June, Price was sounding the alarm over health reform. In a Human Events column, Price wrote: "As a former physician, I can attest that perhaps nothing has had a greater negative impact on health care in this country than governmental and regulatory intrusion, primarily through Medicare."


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