Representative Jamie Raskin, a Democrat of Maryland who survived a battle with cancer this year with Dr. Monahan as his primary care physician, said the doctor “zealously guards the doctor-patient relationship.”
“If patients want to use the authority of the Capitol physician to lower the pressure on some medical situation, it has to be done through that letter,” Mr. Raskin said, referring to a statement of the kind Mr. McConnell released.
Such statements almost always proclaim the elected official to be in tiptop shape.
Two months after Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, had a heart attack in 2019 in the thick of a presidential campaign, he released a lengthy letter from Dr. Monahan saying he was “in good health,” and had been “engaging vigorously in the rigors of your campaign, travel and other scheduled activities without any limitation.”
In 2012, as Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, was making a vice-presidential run alongside Mitt Romney of Utah, Dr. Monahan wrote that Mr. Ryan regularly engaged in “vigorous aerobic and strength-building exercises,” ate a “heart healthy diet,” and did not smoke or drink much alcohol.
“The system is set up where it just says, ‘I’m clearing you to serve,’” Dr. Caplan, the medial ethicist, said of the Office of the Attending Physician. “That’s not transparent, and that isn’t the information that I think voters and the public deserve.”