Before U.S. Rep. Tom Price was elected in 2004, he was an orthopedic surgeon.
So when the District 6 Republican spoke to medical professionals Wednesday night about health care legislation, it was with some authority.
Price made it clear to members of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce’s Healthcare Association of Forsyth County that he was not in support of the federal health care overhaul law.
But he didn’t use the typical opposition talking points in his address at Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center. Instead, he broke his concerns down from the perspective of a medical professional.
“There are a lot of non-medical people making medical decisions and I think that probably concerns all of you,” he said. “The bill itself, which passed in March of last year, I believe to be an affront to the practice of medicine and to the care of patients.
"It distorts that physician-patient relationship and the decision making process that people go through.”
Price said he expects the health care measure to be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court by June 2012, right when the presidential campaign starts heating up.
“It’s going to be a remarkably dynamic time for health care,” he said. “I think health care is going to be one of those major issues that is discussed during the presidential election of 2012, and rightly so.”
Jason Mock, director of the chamber’s Small Business Services Center, said Price offered a unique perspective that other congressmen don’t have.
“He brought an added value because of his background as a doctor,” Mock said. “He has sat in the seats where our physicians have sat on a day-to-day basis and now he’s having to govern the issues from where he stood before he was elected.”
Price, who represents parts of north Fulton, Cherokee and Cobb counties, fielded some industry-specific questions from health care professionals, and also talked about the need to reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
He also encouraged the audience to get involved.
“I would urge you to engage in this conversation and debate with your friends, with your neighbors ... because the result of this conversation that we’re going to have in this country that we’re going to have over the next 15 months is incredibly important to the future of health care in this country,” he said.