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Bucshon joins GOP members announcing retirement

Indiana Republican, a former surgeon, focused on health insurance policy

Indiana Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon on Monday said he would not run for an eighth term.
Indiana Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon on Monday said he would not run for an eighth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indiana Rep. Larry Bucshon won’t seek reelection, he announced Monday, joining a number of fellow Republicans and fellow doctors who said they would leave Congress after their terms end. 

“Scripture teaches us, ‘For everything there is a season,’ and it became clear to me over the Christmas holiday with much discernment and prayer that the time has come to bring my season in public service to a conclusion,” the seven-term Republican said in a statement

A member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, Bucshon said that “recent disputes in Congress and difficulties advancing policy on behalf of the American people have not soured my faith in our Constitutional Republic form of government.”

“Throughout the history of the United States, one of our strengths has always been the ability of our elected leaders — and the American people — to debate the issues in a public forum, and then ultimately find common ground and compromise on solutions that benefit the American people. It is still true today and this principle always prevails,” he added. 

Bucshon is the 20th House member, and 11th Republican, to announce he would not run again this year. Another 17 members are running for other offices.

He becomes the third member of the Indiana delegation to opt not to seek reelection, joining 5th District Rep. Victoria Spartz in retiring, while 3rd District Rep. Jim Banks is running for the state’s open Senate seat. 

First elected in 2010, Bucshon is also a member of the Republican Study Committee and has been a reliable GOP vote. The conservative Club for Growth targeted him in 2014, but he easily defeated his primary opponent and went on to win the general election that year with 60.3 percent of the vote. In his last two elections, Bucshon did not have a primary challenger and won reelection with about two-thirds of the vote. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race for the 8th District seat as Solid Republican. 

A former cardiovascular surgeon, Bucshon made health care policy a focal point of his time in the House.

Bucshon has spent the past several years pushing for fixes to the way Medicare pays physicians, but his retirement may mean that goal will be left unfinished. He has pushed for changes to a law that currently ties Medicare payments to value rather than volume, arguing it has led to payment cuts that doctors say are unsustainable.

Bucshon has worked with other members of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, including other retiring Reps. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, and Michael Burgess, R-Texas, to reform the system, releasing a discussion draft of a bill in October that aims to ensure more reliable payments for physicians. That bill, sponsored by another doctor, Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., advanced out of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee in November.

Bucshon also spearheaded an effort to overhaul regulation of diagnostic lab tests, but that job remains unfinished. His bill, though bipartisan, lacks sufficient support among Republicans.

His retirement further jeopardizes the bill’s chances of passage. Advocates so far have not found a GOP champion in the Senate after the retirement of former sponsor Richard Burr, R-N.C.

That could change in the near future. The Food and Drug Administration has instead proposed to regulate lab tests like medical devices, an approach that both House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions ranking member Bill Cassidy, R-La., oppose.

Lauren Clason and Jessie Hellmann contributed to this report.

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