Coburn: healthcare reform violates Hippocratic oath

The healthcare reform bills before Congress would in essence violate physicians' Hippocratic Oaths take to ethically practice medicine, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) suggested Monday night.

"What I think is in front of us is violating the first oath of medicine, which is the first thing is to do no harm," Coburn said during a interview on Fox News. "And that's not to deny a recognition that we have significant problems in terms of competitiveness and cost in our country."

Doctors traditionally take a modern version of the oath, derived from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates's original oath for doctors, after graduation from medical school.

Coburn is a physician who practiced obstetrics and gynecology before coming to the Senate, and even did work pro bono delivering babies until the Senate Ethics Committee ordered him to stop.

The conservative Oklahoman said that he didn't know why Republicans had not made their own stab at healthcare reform while in control of the House and Senate, noting that he didn't arrive in Washington until 2005.

"I can't account for the five years before that," Coburn said. "But the fact is, is they didn't take advantage of any of the opportunities they had to make big changes, and they could have done this and they should have, but they didn't."