A Republican congressman who serves as co-chairman of the House Doctors Caucus is requesting President Obama include representative doctors at his health care summit on Thursday.
Though the guest list for Thursday's event won't be finalized until Wednesday, Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy, who is also a psychologist, has asked Obama to request participation from the 20-plus members of Congress with health care experience.
"If the administration and Congress were to meet on judicial reform, surely there would be lawyers in the room. When funding or strategy for the military is debated, we trust the veterans serving in Congress to best guide policy. The quality of health care reform legislation could be vastly improved if legislators who have treated patients, diagnosed illnesses, and written prescriptions are involved," Murphy wrote in a letter Monday.
Murphy wrote that 14 members in the House have worked as psychologists, obstetricians, family physicians, heart surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, optometrists, radiation oncologists, dentists and nephrologists.
The Senate also has several doctors, including Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso, who told Fox News that if he were invited to the White House Thursday to discuss health care reforms he would definitely attend.
A House GOP aide said while not everyone has been named as guests, Republicans will send top leaders and relevant committee ranking members, including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, who is ranking Republican on the Ways and Means Committee; Minnesota Rep. John Kline, ranking GOPer on the Education and Labor Committee; and Texas Rep. Joe Barton, ranking member on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Minority Leader John Boehner is also expected to attend though he has not yet responded. The aide said a couple "players to be named later" will also go to the White House.
Murphy wrote that nearly half of the $2.5 trillion health care system is paid by taxpayers through programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and veterans care. He said professionals who have treated patients "have learned firsthand how the health care system can be improved, including: how $800 billion to $1 trillion wasted each year in the health care system can be eliminated."