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Political Notebook

Paul sees certification questions as an attack

Associated Press / June 15, 2010

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Rand Paul, who touts his career as a Kentucky eye doctor as part of his outsider credentials in his campaign for US Senate, isn’t certified by his profession’s leading group.

He tried yesterday to bat away questions about it by calling it a personal attack, saying the scrutiny stems from his challenge of a powerful medical group over a certification policy he thought was unfair.

The libertarian-leaning Republican helped create a rival certification group more than a decade ago. He said the group has since recertified several hundred ophthalmologists but it is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the governing group for two dozen medical specialty boards.

Questions about Paul’s certification as an eye surgeon arose in a story published Sunday in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Paul, who is continuing to practice in Bowling Green during the campaign, chafed at questions about his certification. “It’s a personal assault on my ability to make a living,’’ Paul said.

Paul, whose father, Ron, is a Texas congressman and former presidential candidate, said he is a good physician with thousands of patients. By focusing on an internal struggle within his profession, he said, “you vilify me and make it out to sound, ‘Oh . . . there’s something wrong with him as a physician because he chose not to register’’ with the American Board of Ophthalmology.

Paul said he helped form the rival group because the established organization exempted older ophthalmologists from recertification. He likened it to members of Congress passing laws that don’t apply to themselves.

The campaign for Jack Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general and Paul’s Democratic rival, said the episode raises serious questions about Paul’s character. Conway’s campaign said it shows Paul doesn’t want to be held to the same standards as other doctors.

Democrat doubts results of Senate primary in S.C.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A US Senate candidate asked for a new Democratic primary yesterday after he lost last week to an unemployed military veteran who raised no money and had no signs and no ads.

The Democratic Party’s 92-member executive committee plans a hearing Thursday on the protest by former state lawmaker Vic Rawl and could order the primary results overturned.

Pundits have been puzzled since Alvin Greene, a 32-year-old political unknown, defeated Rawl in the primary to see who would face Senator Jim DeMint, the Republican incumbent, who is a heavy favorite in the fall. Greene won with 59 percent of the vote to 41 percent for Rawl.

Employers warned about health care plan changes
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration had a message yesterday for employers who want to keep federal bureaucrats from rewriting the rules for their company medical plans: Don’t jack up costs for workers, and you won’t have to worry about interference from the new health care law.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a new regulation that spells out how health plans that predate the health overhaul law can avoid its full impact. The rule sets limits that could become increasingly important as medical costs keep rising. Plan changes that would cause a health plan to lose its “grandfathered’’ status and trigger new federal requirements include dropping coverage for a particular health problem or increasing the proportion of insurance or deductibles paid by workers.