It says something telling about the current regulatory state when a longtime physician such as former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn has no interest at all in returning to the profession, even for a little while.
Later in the interview, Coburn, always a champion of markets managing health care, instead of the government doing so, said the U.S. has “the most screwed-up system in the world.” It’s worse than when he entered the Senate in 2005, “because so many of the dollars are consumed in nonhealth care acts.” Coburn said two nurses worked for him during his recent fill-in stint, “and 90 percent of their time was consumed with paperwork. We’re generating paper that nobody’s reading.”
A Republican from Muskogee, Coburn resigned from the Senate at the end of 2014 with two years remaining on his second term. He’s fighting prostate cancer for the second time, but has said his decision to leave stemmed from his frustration with life in Washington. That frustration remains.
His advice to former colleagues? “My advice is come home,” he told the Examiner. “You’re more likely to fix the problems at home than you are there. Until the American people see transparently what’s going on, what we have is a charade going on in Washington.”
Coburn is working on several fronts, including encouraging states to use their constitutional powers to limit government’s scope, and trying to reform the Food and Drug Administration. And as always, the doctor is dispensing tough but needed medicine along the way.