CAMPAIGN ’96 II: NURSES, PHYSICIANS RUN FOR CONGRESS
While the "most famous nurse in politics these days isThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
probably Sheila Burke, chief of staff" to Bob Dole, the American
Nurses Association (ANA) "is touting the virtues of its five
nurse-candidates" for Congress -- all of whom are Democrats.
According to the WASHINGTON POST, the introduction of President
Clinton's health reform plan helped catapult the nurses
organization to "political prominence," boosting their political
action committee's (PAC) contributions to more than $1 million in
1995 (Gugliotta/Romano, 10/13). "Before health care reform, it
used to be, 'What do the doctors think, what do the hospitals
think,'" said Chris deVries, ANA political director. "But we
went up on [Capitol] Hill and testified 12 or 15 times, and now
it's 'What do the nurses think?' Today we are viewed by
policymakers around town as the voice for nursing." The nurses
PAC, which is now the third-largest health-related PAC in the
nation, saw the second-largest increase in contributions to
federal candidates in the '93-'94 election cycle.
WHO'S RUNNING THIS YEAR?: In Texas, Rep. Eddie Bernice
Johnson is seeking reelection. In Iowa, Connie McBurney, a
licensed practical nurse, chose to run because of congressional
attempts "to shrink the health care system." She is challenging
Rep. Greg Ganske (R), a physician. Lydia Spottswood, an
operating room nurse, is challenging Rep. Mark Neumann (R-WI).
Carolyn McCarthy, a licensed practical nurse and gun control
advocate, is challenging New York Rep. Daniel Frisa (R).
McCarthy chose to run after her husband and two children were
killed on the Long Island Rail Road in 1993. This August,
McCarthy addressed the Democratic Convention, pledging to fight
to retain the ban on assault weapons and to end "the violence
that means millions of dollars in hospital costs every year, and
so much pain." Rita Tamerius is challenging California Rep.
Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R). In the October 1996 issue of the
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF NURSING, Tamerius said, "Our practice will be
determined by what happens in health care financing in the next
10 years. If we're not part of the solution, we'll be out of
there" (ANA release, 10/16).
MORE DOCS: Overall, a survey by the American Medical Association
(AMA) found 29 physicians or spouses running for Congress. At
the state level, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) is seeking re-
election, and more than 100 physicians and spouses are running
for legislative seats (AMERICAN MEDICAL NEWS, 10/21 issue). At
the national level, four incumbent physician representatives are
seeking re-election. They are: Ganske, Dave Weldon (R-FL), Tom
Coburn (R-OK) and Jim McDermott (D-WA). Physician challengers
include: Vic Snyder (D-AR), Doug Mains (D-IL), Ernest Fletcher
(R-KY), John Cooksey (R-LA), Paul van Gryska (R-MA), Morris
Frumin (D-MI), Noel Collis (R-MN), David Westbrock (R-OH),
Richard Wild (R-RI), Gerald Frankel (D-TX), Ron Paul (R-TX),
James Sweatt (D-TX) and Dave Little (D-WA) (AHL interview,