Bipartisan Group of Senate and House Committee Leaders: "Vaccines Save Lives"
Posted by Lesley Fulop on February 21, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC— A bipartisan group of Senate and House health committee leaders today sent colleagues a letter to highlight the importance of immunizations, saying: “Vaccines save lives.”
Dr. Burgess Weekly Address: Telephone Town Hall Review
Posted by on February 17, 2017
Dr. Burgess discusses some topics of great importance to the constituents of the 26th district brought up on his most recent telephone town hall. With over 3,000 North Texans on the phone, there was a productive discussion on topics including health care reform, immigration and national security. Read his full remarks here.
Walden, Burgess Praise Move to Deliver Immediate Obamacare Relief
Posted by Lesley Fulop on February 15, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today issued the following statement after the Trump administration took action to deliver relief from Obamacare’s damage.
Walden and Burgess Comment on Rep. Price's Confirmation as HHS Secretary
Posted by Lesley Fulop on February 10, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) as the secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“With Senate confirmation of Dr. Tom Price as HHS Secretary, we can really get to work cleaning up the mess of the past and building a truly patient-centered health care system with better choices for Americans. Who better to work with than a physician who has championed what’s best for patients all of his life? As desperate patients and families look to move beyond the failures of Obamacare, we know that our friend and colleague has the hard-earned experience to lead reform efforts at HHS. We look forward to working with Dr. Price and his team at HHS as Congress follows through on its promise to repeal Obamacare and rebuild our health care system with patient-centered reforms.”
Burgess Selected to Serve on U.S. Helsinki Commission
Posted by Lesley Fulop on February 10, 2017
Washington, D.C. — Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, was appointed to the Congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, for the 115th Congress. This is the third Congress that Dr. Burgess has served as a Commissioner.
Dr. Burgess will serve as one of nine Commissioners in the U.S. House of Representatives, selected by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. In addition, nine Commissioners from the U.S. Senate are selected by the President of the Senate. The remaining three Commissioners are appointed by the President of the United States from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce, usually at the Assistant Secretary level.
The Helsinki Commission is an independent federal agency created in 1976, by order of Public Law 94-304, to monitor and encourage compliance with the Helsinki Final Act, or Helsinki Accords. The Commission convenes public hearings and briefings on Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)‐related topics, issues public reports and organizes official delegations to participating states. The Commission includes 57 participating states and 11 partners for cooperation.
“As the world continues to change, it is now more important than ever to work with leaders of our ally nations to defend basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially those of persecuted individuals,” said Burgess.
“As we welcome a new Administration, the Commission has the unique opportunity to ensure comprehensive security through the promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental, and military cooperation. I am honored to have the privilege of serving on the Helsinki Commission for another Congress.”
“On the Helsinki Commission, Dr. Burgess has been a champion for human rights and the rule of law, and a strong supporter of Ukraine under attack by Russia,” said Helsinki Commission Co-Chair Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04). “I am pleased to welcome him back to the Commission, and look forward to continuing to work with him to support U.S. foreign policy goals throughout the OSCE region.”
For more information on the U.S. Helsinki Commission, click here.
Dr. Burgess Weekly Address: Nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court
Posted by on February 9, 2017
Dr. Burgess remarks on President Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court bench, Judge Neil Gorsuch, and his many qualifying merits that will ensure he carries on the legacy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Read his full remarks here.
Burgess Reintroduces Bill to Improve Trauma Care Through Military-Civilian Partnership
Posted by Lesley Fulop on February 7, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representatives Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Gene Green (D-TX), Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) reintroduced the MISSION Zero Act (H.R. 880), to assist the Department of Defense (DoD) in assigning trauma surgeons to civilian trauma centers filling a gap in care recently examined by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
Dr. Burgess Weekly Address: Right to Be Heard
Posted by on February 3, 2017
In the wake of the crowds of Americans that descended on DC to exercise their right to free speech in recent weeks, Dr. Burgess remarks on our right to be heard and the importance of respecting each other’s voice.
Read his full remarks here.
Michael Burgess will lead the GOP charge on unwinding Obamacare
Posted by Lesley Fulop on February 2, 2017
WASHINGTON — In a delegation packed with chairmen and some of the most bombastic members of Congress, one of the quieter Texas members this week took on one of the most daunting tasks ahead for House Republicans.
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, a Lewisville Republican, led his first hearings this week to unwind the Affordable Care Act, the Democrats' 2010 health care overhaul. But in an interview with the Tribune on Wednesday, Burgess suggested his aim was not so much to unwind the landmark bill but "to fix" the overall health care system.
The eight-term congressman is at this nexus of health care policy as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, a slot he earned through seniority and years of plugging away as one of dozens of members of Energy and Commerce.
Burgess also brings to the issue a unique background: He is the longest-serving doctor in Congress.
"Well, it’s what I asked for," he said regarding his centrality to the health care debate. "And in some ways, it’s what I asked for when I got here. It took me awhile to get here, as the chairman of the subcommittee on health."
"But when I just look at all of the things that have come together on this: the Affordable Care Act now being in the spotlight, long-recognized problems with our public health systems, this is where I need to be."
Burgess' reputation on Capitol Hill is that of an intense conservative, and in this new role, he is bursting with ideas on how to improve the country's unwieldy health care system. But as optimistic as he is, there is no clear Republican replacement plan. Issues like whether Obamacare's ban on insurance companies denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions will survive under a Republican overhaul are the focus of intense interest. It will be Burgess sorting through much of that puzzle.
"My role is to get the policy in the best possible shape, where members can support it, where members can discuss it and where members can win arguments about it," he explained.
The congressman shied away from a suggestion that he will be the quarterback of the overhaul, pointing instead to House leadership.
“Nooooo ..." he said thoughtfully. "Waterboy?”
“More of an educator than a quarterback, let me put it that way, as far as educating subcommittee members, full committee members, House members and ultimately senators on what the right approach is."
While some members of Congress are politically wired, Burgess is a policy wonk who delights in the weeds of health care. As the ACA was implemented, Burgess enrolled himself in what he called the "unsubsidized bronze plan in the federal fallback exchange" rather than the plan most other members of Congress purchase.
"I think it was important for me as a member of Congress to go through what everyone else back home was going through," he said.
Burgess is a fan of health savings accounts, arguing they are a potential solution for younger people on catastrophic plans to tackle high deductibles.
“As long as you have the ability to buy that lower-cost, high-deductible plan, if you’re disciplined enough to put some of that money into a health savings account, then over time you’re actually going to grow that health care nest egg where you do have the ability to withstand some serious blows to health care and cover the spending that’s going to be required," he said.
He conceded the idea would not solve all the problems in the system.
"I recognize it's not for everybody," he said. "There are people that can’t or shouldn’t be in a health savings account environment, but why restrict it for the people who should be?"
Harkening back to his obstetrician background, Burgess frequently mentioned the bureaucratic burden on both patients and doctors.
"From the patient side, I've got to get something that is the least disruptive to people and the least disruptive to their lives," he said. "I want what we do to be helpful to patients across the board, so I have that role also."
That background is not lost on one fellow Texan, U.S. Rep. Gene Green, who is Burgess' Democratic counterpart at the subcommittee as its ranking member.
"I’ve worked with a lot of legislative doctors, and every doctor just wants to treat their patients, and I want them to be able to do that," Green said.
Green, a Houstonian, is as liberal as Burgess is conservative, but they share a passion for policy and frequently speak in esoteric policy jargon. Both men describe a friendly relationship.
"I’ve always found Gene Green to be someone who I can talk to, I might not always win the argument with him, but we understand where each other are coming from," Burgess said.
“We talk all the time,” Green concurred. “We know there are things we know we don't agree to."
But the two men are legislative adversaries on a controversial issue in the context of a Capitol that seems lately to be boiling over hourly with partisan rage. Green and fellow Democrats can be expected to fiercely fight to hold together as much of the Affordable Care Act as possible.
"I’ll work with them, but we’re not going to abolish ..." Green said, interrupting himself. "Access is the whole thing."
Yet access is also a sticking point for Burgess.
"I lost my individual policy with the health savings account because of the Affordable Care Act," he said. "The president told me I had junk insurance, and I couldn't have it anymore. So I have got to spend three or four times the amount on the premium, the deductibles doubled or tripled. And I’m supposed to be happy now?"
With months, if not years, of contentious hearings on the horizon, Burgess is ready to wield the gavel and become a C-SPAN star, of sorts.
It will also undoubtedly mean he will bear the brunt of liberal backlash.
His suburban North Texas district is safe Republican territory, but some constituents are already raising questions about the repeal effort. And it's likely inevitable that he will be confronted by voters who say he will be responsible for their lost health care coverage, as has happened to other Republican members.
Burgess insists he thrives on the constituent feedback.
"I would say to someone like that, 'This is great. You care about health policy just as much as I do. You carry that same burning passion that it ought to be right.'
“So, I’m willing to listen to what you have to say," he continued. "Really, that’s the way I look at our role in the subcommittee. We are the People’s House. People ought to interact with us. People ought to call their member of Congress."
And, he added, he's received plenty of calls from constituents pleading for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement.
It took Democrats over a year to move their health care plan through Congress in the early days of the Obama administration, and they had a far greater majority on the Senate side than Republicans do now. The actual implementation of the Affordable Care Act took even longer.
In the here and now, Burgess has no illusions about the complex task ahead of him.
"That's going to be my life for the next two years."
Read the full article here.
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Sending my sincere condolences to the loved ones of Alan Colmes, a well-respected political voice and a genuine, good man.