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Dr. Burgess Weekly Address: Immigration Update
Posted by on February 24, 2017
Dr. Burgess remarks on the steps being taken by the Department of Homeland Security to strengthen our border and reform our immigration system.Read his full remarks here
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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.” 

“The introduction of vaccines was a turning point in our country’s public health history.  Vaccines led to the elimination of certain diseases, including polio and measles, from the United States,” write Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Ranking Member Gene Green (D-Texas).

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), before introduction of the polio vaccine in the United States, polio caused more than 16,000 cases of paralysis and nearly 2,000 deaths each year, on average.   Similarly, before the introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963, almost all children got measles by the age of 15, with up to 4 million Americans infected each year, according to the CDC.  Measles is a highly contagious, airborne virus that can cause serious respiratory illness and life-threatening complications in children, such as pneumonia, ear infections, and even lifelong brain damage or deafness.   In 2000, as a result of a vaccine, the CDC declared measles to be eliminated in the United States,” they wrote in the letter to each of their Senate and House colleagues.

The letter concludes: “Vaccines are our first line of defense against infectious diseases, many of which have no treatment or can be life-threatening. As medical research continues to advance, and scientists discover new medical breakthroughs and cutting-edge ways to treat disease and save lives, it is critical to recognize the importance of protecting public health against vaccine-preventable diseases. The science is clear: FDA-licensed vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, and save the lives both of those who receive them and vulnerable individuals around them.  As Members of Congress, we have a critical role to play in supporting the availability and use of vaccines to protect Americans from deadly diseases.”

Read the full letter here.

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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. 
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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.

“Patients and families understand best the need for urgent action to repeal Obamacare. Today’s action represents a clear signal from the Trump administration that patient voices have finally been heard, and that health care markets will get immediate relief. This rule helps move our country beyond the damage of Obamacare to patient-focused solutions to rebuild our health care system and provide fairness for everyone. Many of the actions in this rule directly align with proposed actions before our own committee. From requiring documentation for special enrollment periods and closing a loophole, these changes help protect taxpayers and stabilize markets. Working together, we will continue to get results for people across the country.” 

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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.”

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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

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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
 
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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. 
 
Currently, trauma care in the United States is a patchwork of regional systems and incomplete data registries. Mortality and disability in traumatic injury can be greatly reduced through integrated, permanent joint civilian and military trauma system training platforms, in order to create and sustain an expert trauma workforce between periods of active combat.  
 
The MISSION Zero Act would also establish grant programs for eligible trauma systems and centers to incorporate full military trauma teams or individual military trauma providers into their hospitals. This mutually beneficial partnership would allow civilians the chance to learn more about military best practices and would give military trauma care providers the opportunity to utilize their cutting-edge expertise without leaving the military.
 
“Our military has made incredible strides in delivering trauma care, saving countless lives that would have otherwise been lost,” said Rep. Burgess. “This expertise should be brought home to strengthen our civilian trauma centers and systems, so that efforts to save American lives are not dependent on where one is injured and what care is readily available. The MISSION Zero Act would establish a grant program to foster a partnership between our military and civilian trauma providers to benefit all Americans. I am proud to be part of this important legislation to strengthen our nation’s trauma care and save more lives on and off the battlefield.”

“This grant program will support the development of a national trauma care system that allows for the continuous and seamless exchange of knowledge across the military and civilian health care sectors,” said Rep. Green. “This would better provide optimal delivery of trauma care to save the lives of Americans injured within the United States or on the battlefield. As we grapple with how to best support our men and women in uniform and respond to tragedies at home, we must make certain that our trauma systems and centers are best prepared to save lives.”

“As a Representative of North Carolina – home of the epicenter of the universe, Fort Bragg – I understand how critical it is for our military trauma teams to maintain their unique medical skills off the battlefield,”
said Rep. Hudson. “That’s why I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce this bipartisan bill that will place military trauma teams into high acuity civilian trauma centers, empowering them to hone their expertise and enhancing our civilian trauma centers across the country.”

“We need to build on the unique partnership between Tampa General Hospital and military medical professionals from MacDill Air Force Base. MacDill is home to the 6th Air Medical Group that serves the Sixth Air Mobility Wing, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.  In 2011, the MacDill Air Medical Group and Tampa General Hospital launched a ‘full team’ training initiative with nurses, surgeons and specialists. The initiative allows military and civilian medical teams to hone their skills in intense trauma environments and thereby keep them sharp to care for our warfighters. These partnerships are going to be vital for continued training for our community and our military. It should be replicated in other trauma centers across the United States,” said Rep. Castor. 

The MISSION ZERO Act is endorsed by the American Congress of Neurological Surgeons, American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Surgeons, and the Trauma Care Association of America.

“We are pleased to support the MISSION ZERO Act and applaud Reps. Burgess, Green, Hudson and Castor for reintroducing this important legislation,” said Jennifer Ward, President of Trauma Center Association of America.  “Allowing trauma centers around the country to partner with military surgeons will not only help our servicemen and women maintain military readiness, but will also strengthen our trauma care systems and ensure that top-notch trauma care is available to every person who needs it.”

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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



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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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