Burgess proposes domestic prohibition of weaponized drones
Posted by Cameron Harley on April 23, 2015
Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D., introduced legislation Wednesday to prohibit the domestic use of weaponized unmanned aircraft systems. H.R.1939, the “No Armed Drones Act (NADA) of 2015,” prohibits the Secretary of Transportation from authorizing the use of drones as weapons against any person or property in the national airspace. 

“American citizens – past, present, and future – should never have to face the use of military tactics by agents of our justice system,” Burgess said. “ Our founders envisioned a society where citizens would be innocent until proven guilty, and wouldn’t be treated like suspected criminals while going about their everyday lives. Arming a surveillance drone for day-to-day law enforcement purposes clearly violates those ideals of liberty and must be banned.”
 
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Dr. Burgess weekly address: The IRS must protect your information
Posted by on April 23, 2015


This week, Dr. Burgess discusses the recent spike in tax identity fraud claims, and the duty of the IRS to protect your data. To read his remarks, click here.

To read Dr. Burgess' letter to the IRS, click here

 
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Burgess demands IRS analysis of income tax fraud
Posted by Cameron Harley on April 22, 2015
Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D., today, requested that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) immediately address the recent spike in reported cases of income tax identification theft.  In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Rep. Burgess cited a significant rise in theft reports from his own congressional district and demanded that the IRS provide analysis on their fraud investigation procedures.

“Tax fraud is a growing problem that devastates families and places billions of taxpayer dollars into the hands of criminals,” Burgess said.  “The IRS is responsible for maintaining trustworthy stewardship of taxpayer data. If they want to rebuild public trust, the IRS must help Americans feel secure in the belief that they are safeguarding sensitive data and combating theft.”  

Income tax identification theft occurs when a thief files an income tax return using the Taxpayer Identification Number or Social Security number of a legitimate taxpayer and claims a refund based on this stolen information. 

Each year, thousands of filed claims are subject to refund fraud. Last year alone, an estimated $5.8 billion was wrongly dispersed to identity thieves during the 2013 filing year.  Also concerning, is a recently released Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report stating that the IRS took an average of 278 days to resolve fraudulently impacted accounts.  
 
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Dr. Burgess Weekly Video Address: Tax Week
Posted by on April 16, 2015


This week, Dr. Burgess discusses his legislation to replace our complicated tax code with the Flat Tax.

To read his remarks, click here
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Burgess hails Senate passage of permanent 'Doc Fix'
Posted by Cameron Harley on April 15, 2015
Washington, D.C. – After the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 2, the “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2015,” last night, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D., commended the 98-2 vote, which assertively repealed the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

“After more than a decade of uneven progress,  it’s almost overwhelming to think that more than 90 percent of Congress finally voted to repeal the SGR. With bipartisan strength, we passed the most meaningful entitlement reform in years with a product that’s a huge victory for seniors, providers, taxpayers, and the integrity of the entire Medicare system. 

“I’ve worked to resolve this issue my entire congressional career, and I extend my deepest thanks to everyone who played a part in making the burdensome SGR formula a relic of the past. May we never speak of it again.”

 
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Rep. Burgess applauds movement of Medicare reform, urges Senate action
Posted by on April 14, 2015


Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D., this week, applauded the House of Representatives’ action to repeal the broken Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula – a calculation that unfairly reimburses Medicare providers at a disproportionately low rate. Further, he calls on the Senate to support the legislation for the long-term integrity of our Medicare system and savings for taxpayers.
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ICYMI: Fixing Medicare's provider payments
Posted by Cameron Harley on April 08, 2015
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

April 3, 2015

At town-hall meetings and events across greater Fort Worth, seniors ask me repeatedly why they had to change doctors when they enrolled in Medicare. Doctors and care providers tell me that they simply cannot afford to continue caring for Medicare patients because they are threatened with reimbursements that fall short of service costs.

Simply put, The Sustainable Growth Rate formula (SGR) is the top culprit. 

I’ve been trying to repeal it ever since I came to Congress because – as a physician – I know first-hand how destructive this formula is to the doctor-patient relationship.

For background, SGR was approved by Congress in 1997 as an attempt to mitigate growing Medicare services. But, the formula proved uneven to the growth of the medical industry, highly unrealistic, and ultimately threatening to care providers’ ability to serve patients. 

Since 2003, Congress has continued scrapping together “patches” to soften this blow. This method creates never-ending uncertainty for providers and constantly threatens seniors’ access to care. These patches are a failed price control, a failed budget gimmick that hide the true cost of Medicare costs to the taxpayer, and will only get more expensive. 

This path is unsustainable.

But, there’s new hope.  After wasting time and taxpayer dollars re-hashing this issue 18 times since 2003, Congress is closer than ever to a permanent solution.

In a rare show of unity last week, the House of Representatives passed this legislation, ”The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act,” to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate and preserve the integrity of our Medicare system with an astounding 392 votes.

For elderly beneficiaries
This bill is all about access for seniors and the end of the annual threat to their care. Once SGR is repealed, the new system will streamline Medicare’s existing web of quality programs into a single framework. This will drastically improve payment accuracy and encourage physicians to adopt proven practices. Therefore, creating a more transparent system where doctors –not bureaucrats – are in charge.  

For doctors and other licensed care providers
Most importantly, my bill will finally stop the uncertainty of dramatic payment cuts. It enacts a 0.5 percent payment update for five years – bringing stability and longer term financial certainty to practices. 

Additionally, it includes provisions to incentivize the use of alternative payment models that encourage focus on coordination among providers and preventative services that improve quality and lower cost. 

For taxpayers
This bill points us back toward fiscal sanity, and is the first major entitlement reform in nearly 20 years. 
The non-partisan Congressional Budget office announced that this legislation will likely result in a net savings, because the cost of freezing Medicare’s payment rates would cost much more than this fix – to the tune of about one billion dollars.

The Senate must act now
For Washington, this is the first step toward real entitlement reforms in decades and ends years of irresponsible policies. For the elderly, it means a stronger overall Medicare system and, for taxpayers, it means honest accounting, real savings, and brings us closer to fiscal solvency.

If the Senate doesn’t act on this legislation when they reconvene in just less than two weeks, it means another year of instability for seniors and providers. Because the last patch expired on April 1, an automatic 21 percent pay cut for providers was triggered, which must now be fixed regardless. 

We’re closer than ever to putting this issue behind us and focusing on future reforms and I am proud to have done my part in this fight. But, this must be done, and I won’t stop working on this for seniors and providers until it is law.
 
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Rep. Burgess to join Texas Delegation members at Service Academies Forum
Posted by Cameron Harley on April 07, 2015
This Saturday, Representative Burgess will join Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, as well as Reps. Sam Johnson, John Ratcliffe, Jeb Hensarling, Joe Barton, Kay Granger, Kenny Marchant, Roger Williams, John Carter, Pete Sessions, and Marc Veasey to help provide grade 8-12 students with the opportunity to learn more about our national service academies. 

North Texas U.S. Service Academies Forum

When:
Saturday, April 11, 2015
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 CT (Registration at 7:30 a.m.) 

Where:
Lewisville High School
1098 W. Main St.
Lewisville, Texas 75067

Representatives from Congressional offices and all five academies (U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy), as well as current academy cadets and midshipmen will be in attendance. Interested North Texas students, parents and educators have been encouraged to meet face-to-face with these representatives to learn more about the possibilities associated with attending these institutions.

Other presenters include representatives from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps ROTC. The Forum is free and open to the public; no pre-registration is required. 
 
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Burgess leads coalition to strengthen Medicare, urges Senate action
Posted by Cameron Harley on March 26, 2015

Today, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D., oversaw the passage of his bill, H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, to repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and replace it with a long-term sustainable plan. The agreement marks a critical advancement for entitlement reform, and is the result of intricate – long fought – efforts to promote higher quality care and access for seniors.


“This is the first step toward real, meaningful, entitlement reform,” Burgess said. “I have worked my entire congressional career to address this problem and, after years of uneven progress, we have finally taken this opportunity to do what is right for seniors, providers, and the American taxpayer.

“We just accomplished the unprecedented. Now, it’s time for the Senate to take action. I am optimistic that the Senate will see today’s work as a bellwether to prioritize this critical legislation and send it to the White House to be signed into law.”



Background: H.R. 2 repeals the fundamentally flawed SGR formula, which has forced 17 short-term costly patches over the past decade in order to prevent devastating Medicare reimbursement rate cuts. The formula will be replaced with a system focused on quality care and accountability. The plan will:

• Repeal the SGR and end the annual threat to seniors’ care, while instituting a 0.5% payment update each year for five years.
 
• Improve the fee-for-service system by streamlining Medicare’s existing web of quality programs into one value-based performance program. It increases payment accuracy and encourages physicians to adopt proven practices.
 
• Incentivize the use of alternative payment models to encourage doctors and providers to focus more on coordination and prevention to improve quality and reduce costs.
 
• Make Medicare more transparent by giving patients more access to information and supplying doctors with data they can use to improve care.

 
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Dr. Burgess Weekly Video Address: Five Year Anniversary of Obamacare
Posted by Cameron Harley on March 26, 2015


This week, Dr. Burgess discusses the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law.

To read a copy of his remarks, click here
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