Urologist advances in race for U.S. Congress

June 10, 2019

"If elected, [Greg Murphy, MD] will become part of a de facto Congressional Urology Caucus with Neal Dunn, MD," writes the AACU's Ross E. Weber.

Based on a partnership with Urology Times, articles from the American Association of Clinical Urologists (AACU) provide updates on legislative processes and issues affecting urologists. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact the AACU government affairs office at 847-517-1050 or info@aacuweb.org for more information.

In an April 30 primary election, North Carolina urologist Greg Murphy, MD, came out on top of a crowded field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination to run for a seat in Congress. Dr. Murphy's next electoral test comes July 9, when the two top vote-getters, both physicians, face each other one on one. The winner of that runoff contest will take on the Democrat, ex-Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas, in the general election set for Sept. 10.

Dr. Murphy entered politics in 2015 when he was appointed to fill a vacant seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives. After securing re-election the very next year, the urologic surgeon took on a leadership role in the General Assembly on health care issues, all while maintaining his medical practice. The AACU presented Dr. Murphy with its Distinguished Leadership Award in 2017 at the organization's fall meeting, where the honoree spoke about balancing legislative, political and professional responsibilities.

As chair of the House Health Committee, Dr. Murphy led campaigns to increase access to telehealth services, prohibit deceptive representation of a health care provider's license or certification, and require that reimbursement payments be issued directly to the provider.

Interestingly, two physicians secured the top spots in the April 30 primary that featured 17 candidates. Second place went to Joan Perry, MD, a pediatrician who has been deemed the outsider in the race. Dr. Perry has received considerable support from national groups that back conservative women. Urologists have stepped up for Dr. Murphy, though, as well, including UROPAC – Urology's Advocate on Capitol Hill.

Continue to the next page for more."Our mission is to support candidates who will help urologists provide the best care possible to patients," said AACU President Mark Edney, MD, MBA. "Dr. Greg Murphy is a practicing urologist. I can’t think of a better candidate to support our issues on Capitol Hill."

If elected, Dr. Murphy will become part of a de facto Congressional Urology Caucus with Neal Dunn, MD, a Florida urologist who entered the U.S. House in 2017. Prior to Dr. Dunn's election, the last urologist to serve in Congress was Georgia Republican Larry McDonald, MD, from 1975 to 1983. Counting two urologists as members of the U.S. House of Representatives would demonstrate incredible progress. That said, the number of physicians currently serving in Congress is down from an early 21st century uptick (also see, Urologists among specialists making mark on U.S. politics).

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As exhibited by the kind of legislation Dr. Murphy supports in the legislature, a surgical specialist brings a unique perspective to public policy. However, as Dr. Edney noted, "It's often frustrating because policymaking moves at a snail's pace and there are a thousand reasons why common-sense, patient-friendly reforms are defeated or abandoned every year at both state and federal levels."

Urologists' continued engagement in the political process, whether by supporting UROPAC, volunteering for a preferred candidate, or even running for office, will benefit the entire community. It's only when elected officials have an understanding of how laws and regulations impact patient care that common-sense reforms are considered.

Noteworthy bills championed by NC State Rep. Greg Murphy, MD: