Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD), an obstetric anesthesiologist from Maryland, became the first anesthesiologist ever elected to the U.S. Congress after defeating freshmen incumbent Democratic representative Frank Kratovil (D-MD) in a rematch of their hotly contested race in Maryland’s First District in 2008. Dr. Harris won a decisive 55%-42% victory.
“I congratulate Dr. Harris for being the first anesthesiologist elected to Congress,” said Mark Warner, M.D., president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. “Having an anesthesiologist with his expertise in Congress will help inform other members about the impact legislation will have on our patients.”
“We all currently face a changing health care landscape, and there is concern amongst anesthesiologists that our patients’ best interests could be hurt in the transitions that will occur. Our hope is that Dr. Harris will be able to advocate on behalf of our patients. As an anesthesiologist, he understands the complexity of care in hospital settings. He knows the critical nature of surgical and intensive care medicine. We believe that he will be able to help his fellow members of Congress to understand these important issues and the impact of health care reform and other legislation on patient care.” Dr. Warner added.
“We understand that Dr. Harris is just one of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, but we know that he will work with his Congressional colleagues to preserve the best aspects of our nation’s health care system. This includes allowing our citizens to have access to high quality physician-led care.” Dr. Warner stated.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists Political Action Committee actively supported Dr. Harris’ campaign. Additionally, news reports showed anesthesiologists from across the country individually gave more than $250,000 directly to Dr. Harris’ campaign.
Dr. Harris is currently a three-term state senator representing Maryland. As a former president of the Maryland Society of Anesthesiologists and an anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Harris has a long history of being active in the American Society of Anesthesiologists and advocating on behalf of physician and patient issues.