On Nov. 3, 2020, a record number of emergency physicians will be on the ballot for election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Incumbents Mark Green, MD, and Raul Ruiz, MD, MPH, MPP, will be seeking reelection, while Ronny Jackson, MD; Rich McCormick, MD, MBA; and Hiral Tipirneni, MD, are seeking to increase the ranks of emergency physicians elected to federal office. Each of the emergency physicians running took some time to discuss their personal stories with me and answer a few questions to provide you with a sense of what they view as important issues at this time. Here, presented alphabetically, is a brief profile of each candidate and their responses to the following questions:
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 39 – No 10 – October 2020
What is the most important issue facing the nation today?
What is the campaign issue that are you most passionate about?
In the midst of the pandemic, health care insurers are making record profits while emergency physician practices are challenged by significant decreases in emergency department volumes. What can Congress do to ensure that health care insurers spend more on patient care and less on profits for shareholders?
Rep. Mark Green, MD (R, incumbent TN-7)
Following his graduation from West Point, Dr. Green was initially an infantry officer. He graduated from Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University and became a flight surgeon, serving tours of duty in the Afghanistan War and Iraq War. He authored a book about his experience in Operation Red Dawn, which saw the capture of Saddam Hussein. Following his military retirement in 2006, Dr. Green founded a hospital emergency department physician group in Tennessee as well as two free clinics.
Dr. Green first entered politics in 2012 by defeating Democratic incumbent Tim Barnes for a seat in the Tennessee State Senate. When Rep. Marsha Blackburn announced her candidacy for the United States Senate in 2018, Dr. Green announced his campaign to succeed her and was sworn into his first term of office in January 2019 and currently serves on the Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, and Oversight and Reform committees. Dr. Green has sponsored legislation important to emergency medicine, especially in the areas of rural health and access to care.
- “In the near term, the most important issue is obviously the COVID-19 pandemic. As a nation, we need to stay focused on addressing the challenges created by COVID. We need to continue to find innovative ways to address those challenges, like the creation of Operation Airbridge to improve the availability of PPE [personal protective equipment] and Operation Warp Speed to speed the develop of vaccines. We need to make sure that we have vaccines that are safe and that everyone who’s eligible gets vaccinated.”
- “For me, running here in the Tennessee 7th district, the issues that are most important to my constituents are safety and security. People are concerned about local safety with rioting and protests but also still concerned about the global threats of terrorism and what a Russia/China alliance would mean to global security. The other issue that I am focusing on is how to improve our economy and reduce the national debt. [Also,] our fiscal House powers our national security, and we need to find ways to safely get our economy growing again.”
- “We have to defend the doctor-patient relationship. Insurers have put a wedge between doctors and patients. My role, as an emergency physician in Congress, is to educate the Congressional leaders and my colleagues on how legislation that only helps insurance companies will have devastating downstream effects on the stability of our health care delivery system in this country. I need the help of every emergency physician to amplify that message by taking the time to educate their individual members of Congress.”
Rear Admiral (Ret.) Ronny Jackson, MD (R, candidate TX-13)
Born and raised in the town of Levelland, Texas, Dr. Jackson graduated from Texas A&M University at Galveston and then attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch. During his time in medical school, he served in the Navy Reserves and immediately upon graduating in 1995 began his active-duty military career as an officer in the U.S. Navy. In 2001, after five years in the Navy Diving community, Dr. Jackson returned to the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia, to complete his residency in emergency medicine.
In 2006, while serving in Iraq, Dr. Jackson was selected as a White House physician in the George W. Bush administration. Over the next 14 years, he served three administrations including serving as the director of executive health care for the president’s cabinet and senior staff, physician to the White House, and commanding officer of the White House medical unit. In January 2019, President Donald J. Trump appointed Dr. Jackson as assistant to the president and to the newly established role of chief medical advisor to the White House and the Executive Office of the President.
Dr. Jackson retired from the military as rear admiral on Dec. 1, 2019, with his last duty assignment at the White House.