Most of the candidates attempting to take the seat o the late Senator Frank Lautenberg are political veterans. Then there is Alieta Eck, a doctor from Piscataway who is seeking the Republican nomination. She is challenging Steve Lonegan to be the Republican nominee in special election in October. She told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that it wasn’t until last Monday, when Lautenberg passed away, that she even thought about running for public office.
Upon hearing the news of Lautenberg’s death, Eck says she received a call from a American Medical Association (AMA) board member in California who urged her to run.
“I was thinking, well wow, you know, I probably am equipped,” she said. “I know a lot about what’s going on even on issues other than health care and with the economy and with the overreach of government, and I thought well I think I’ll try I would like to do that.”
As a member and former president of the AAPS, she says she has a record of advocating and writing on behalf of physicians and patients, which sets her apart from other political candidates.
“We in the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons have been working toward an idea of kind of replacing the whole Medicaid system with something that is far more user-friendly for doctors and patients, and there’s just nobody out there that’s talking like that,” Eck said.
When asked if she would like to see the end of Medicare, she responded that “adding layers and layers of government into the healthcare system [is] not a way for the private physician-patient relationship to thrive.”
She blames Obamacare the for increase in insurance premiums, and says it only going to get worse. Eck says she and her family get health coverage through a faith-based organization.
“Right now, we’re members of Medi-Share and it’s just less expensive because we’re not dealing with all the government mandates,” she explained. “I just think people need to be free to purchase the health insurance they want from the state that they want, with the deductible they want, with the coverage they want, and we just need to be free.”
If elected, Eck already has her sights set on who she would like to work with in the Senate.
“I would love to be working with Rand Paul, with Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz,” she name specifically. ‘They’re people I would like to meet and people I would like to work with.”
In the meantime, Eck is working on a state bill that would ease malpractice restrictions on physicians.
“We’re just waiting for it to be debated in the Senate Health Committee and I think it’s a true answer where doctors would donate time and if they donated enough time — 4 hours a week — we’re saying to the state, just protect us from malpractice in our private practices where we earn our living.”