Physician senator pushes to get paid to practice

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is quietly lobbying to lift a ban that prevents physician senators from getting paid to practice, Politico reports. Payment from outside income currently is barred by the Senate Ethics Committee to avoid any conflicts-of-interest.

Paul, an ophthalmologist, is seeking an exception to the rule for physician senators in order to offset the costs of medical equipment and liability and malpractice insurance. House members, conversely, can charge for services as long as they do not gain personal profit, according to the Wall Street Journal, to the advantage of the House's 19 physicians.

Paul continues to practice medicine in order to maintain physician competence during his Senate tenure. If clinically inactive for a period of time, Paul risks losing his skills, which could hinder a return to private practice after his Senate term.

Paul is one of three physicians in the Senate, including Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), an orthopedic surgeon, and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), an obstetrician.

To learn more:
- read the Politico article
- check out this Wall Street Journal Health Blog post