By Julian Pecquet
House Republican doctors donned their white coats Tuesday morning to blast the healthcare reform law as critics prepared to challenge its individual mandate in the Supreme Court.
Most of the Republican lawmakers' complaints focused on why the bill was bad policy, not why it was unconstitutional. In case the political ramifications of their comments were too subtle, a banner hanging over Republican National Committee's doorway read "Happy birthday, Obamacare! We didn't forget you."
"The 2010 healthcare takeover was an attempt to provide something good for the American people that unfortunately represents very bad medicine," said Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.), an ophthalmologist. "Our motto as doctors is 'First, do no harm.' The 2010 health law does grievous harm: It disrespects what has made American medicine the greatest in the world."
Hayworth went on to say that Congress needs to "expand that opportunity to far more Americans," a reference to Republican plans to craft replacement legislation that are currently under discussion as House leaders seek to devise alternative solutions ahead of the November election.
Hayworth spoke at a press conference organized by the Republican National Committee. Other Republican doctors present included Reps. Phil Gingrey (Ga.), the co-chairman of the GOP Doctors Caucus, Phil Roe (Tenn.) and Andy Harris (Md.).
"Prescription pads belong in the hands of doctors," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, "not in the hands of government bureaucrats."
A large majority of health-sector trade associations supported the law, which expands insurance coverage to millions of Americans.
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), an obstetrician, said that Republicans were "fortunate" that Democrats, rushing the bill through, "did something that's unconstitutional that gives us the opportunity to kill this sucker dead once and for all."