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Reps. Burgess and Gonzalez lead in removing ban on Physician Owned Hospitals
Posted by on March 2, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) introduced bipartisan legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s ban on new physician owned hospitals – H.R. 1330,  the Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2021.

“Physician-owned hospitals play an important role in providing quality, efficient, and cost-effective care in modern medicine,” said Congressman Burgess. “Patient care begins and ends with doctors, and no one is more aware of this fact than physicians themselves. It is wrong that the Affordable Care Act penalizes physicians simply for the two letters behind their name, which is why Representative Gonzalez and I introduced the Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2021 to restore doctors’ freedom to innovate and serve their patients. We must remove burdensome restrictions so that hospitals are able to provide quality care at lower cost for patients in Texas and around the country.”

“Lowering health care costs, increasing access and patient choice must be among our top priorities when it comes to health policy,” said Congressman Gonzalez.  “Physician-owned hospitals offer more competition and expanded opportunities for care for individuals in South Texas and across the United States. I’m proud to be part of this bipartisan effort to renew competition and lower health care costs to make quality, affordable health care available to all.”

“DHR Health applauds Dr. Burgess and Congressman Gonzalez for working in a bipartisan fashion to repeal the anti-competitive, unnecessary, and punitive restrictions placed on physician-owned hospitals.  There are approximately 250 physician-owned hospitals around the country providing high-quality care to their communities at a low cost.  We urge all of Congress and the Biden Administration to work with Dr. Burgess and Congressman Gonzalez to increase competition, reduce costs, improve quality, and increase access to health care for all Americans by immediately repealing the moratorium on physician-owned hospitals,” said Dr. Carlos Cardenas, Chairman of the Board, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Ltd. (DHR Health).

Physician Hospitals of America (PHA) applauds Representatives Michael Burgess, M.D. and Vincente Gonzalez for introducing important bipartisan legislation that will help ensure patients have access to high quality, lower cost healthcare. Physician-owned hospitals have invested in their local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic by converting medical and surgical units to treat COVID-19 patients; have ensured patients with emergent surgical needs receive care; and have participating in epidemiological surveillance and COVID-19 testing programs. “We appreciate Congressman Burgess and Gonzalez for their leadership and support of physician-owned hospitals.  These hospitals have proven that with physicians at the helm, they deliver the highest quality care to patients and this bill would ensure more Medicare patients are able to benefit from them,” said John Richardson, Executive Director of PHA. 

Read the full text of H.R. 1330, here.  


 
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Burgess: Republicans were excluded from Budget Reconciliation process
Posted by on February 27, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) - senior member of the Rules Committee, Energy and Commerce, and Budget Committees – released the following statement after voting against the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan. 

“It is disappointing that while Americans are waiting for Congress to act, Democrats continue to push partisan talking points. Budget Reconciliation provides an expedited process since it requires only a simple majority to pass the Senate. Knowing this, Democrats decided to block Republicans every step of the of way and put forward legislation that does not address the needs of every American,” said Burgess. 

“I sit on the Energy & Commerce, Budget, and Rules Committees. I attended markups for each committee and, along with other Republican committee members, offered sincere amendments to improve this legislation for the American people. Republicans offered over 200 amendments. Only the Democratic Manager’s amendment was brought to the floor for a vote. Essentially, Republican members of Congress were blocked from representing the districts we were elected to represent. 

“There still remains 1 trillion dollars from previous response legislation that has not been spent. It is reckless for Congress to approve another 1.9 trillion dollars without ensuring those previous dollars have been spent. 

“Republicans want to work in a bipartisan manner to provide relief during this pandemic. It was done several times last year. It can and should be done now.”

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Burgess: Johnson & Johnson EUA is evidence of American resourcefulness
Posted by on February 27, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), the most senior doctor in Congress, released the following statement after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Johnson and Johnson’s single dose COVID-19 vaccine. This EUA marks the third COVID-19 vaccine to be available for distribution in the United States.
 
“This is truly a remarkable achievement to see. To have three safe and effective vaccines not even a year from learning the virus sequencing is an outstanding accomplishment. This is a true testament to the dedication of American scientists and a shining example of American resourcefulness. Earlier this week, an FDA panel released that the Johnson and Johnson’s single dose vaccine is effective for this Coronavirus and other severe forms. This third vaccine is a signal that we are nearing the end of this pandemic, but we cannot stop taking the proper precautions. Please continue to wash your hands thoroughly, wear a mask if you are unable to properly social distance, and stay home if you are sick. At the start of this pandemic, America declared that we are in this together and together we will reach the end,” said Burgess.

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February 26, 2021: A Doctor's Note on another vaccine coming soon
Posted by on February 26, 2021
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Dear Friends,

The weekend is starting off on a good note. This afternoon in a 22-0 vote the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel recommended that Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 single dose vaccine be approved for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

If approved for an EUA, Johnson & Johnson promised to immediately have 4 million doses ready to go, and to deliver a total of 100 million doses by the end of June.

National Updates:

The FDA will allow undiluted frozen vials of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be stored in more common pharmaceutical freezers for up to two weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data from two vaccine safety monitoring systems during the first month of the COVID-19 vaccination program: the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting Systems (VAERS) and v-safe.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD) purchased 100,000 treatment courses of bamlanivimab and estesevimab.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is launching a new study on COVID-19 patients experiencing long-term symptoms.
Texas Updates:

Week 12 Vaccine Allocations will be posted here.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced efforts to assist hospitals and other facilities operate and provide care during the Public Health Emergency in Texas.

HHS is delaying COVID-19 Data submission enforcement for 30 days during dates impacted by the weather emergency.

HHSC extended Medicaid and CHIP flexibilities through March 31.

Governor Abbott announced a statewide Save Our Seniors initiative to vaccinate homebound seniors across Texas.

Until tomorrow, this is your doctor's note.
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Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.

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Burgess: Passing legislation should not be about a scorecard
Posted by on February 25, 2021


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX),released the following statement after voting against the H.R. 5, the Equality Act.

“I firmly believe that every American should be treated equally. Putting forward vague language in legislation just to score a political point, however, does more harm than good. Further, the 14th Amendment guarantees all Americans equal protections under the law. The long-term consequences of this bill were not fully thought out. There are multiple potential liabilities. All legislation should go through the committee process, but most importantly legislation that could fundamentally alter the lives of every American,” said Burgess.

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Burgess: It is time to simplify the tax code
Posted by on February 24, 2021


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Burgess: Leads on Mandatory minimum Sentencing Legislation
Posted by on February 24, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), released the following statement after re-introducing H.R. 1105, a bill that would protect federal security contractors working overseas from unfair sentencing requirements so that they can continue to protect our soldiers and civil servants.

“Our country is fortunate to have dedicated, hardworking federal security contractors serving alongside our servicemembers to carry out our foreign policy priorities,” said Burgess.

“In 2007, Paul Slough and his team members, employed as State Department contractors during Operation Iraqi Freedom, were escorting a U.S. diplomatic convoy through Baghdad when an oncoming suspicious vehicle failed to stop. The team opened fire to defend the convoy, unfortunately resulting in 14 Iraqi deaths after engaging in a fire fight. These brave men were sentenced for discharging their firearms under a statute that was never meant to apply to U.S. federal government employees defending Americans overseas.

“Thankfully, this past December President Trump pardoned Mr. Slough and his team members. Their case should have never gotten to that point. To ensure this never happens again, I am re-introducing this legislation to exempt overseas federal contractors from mandatory minimum sentencing requirements under 18 U.S.C. 924(c).

“This legislation will protect federal contractors as the work to keep Americans safe without the concern of falling prey to mandatory minimum sentencing requirements. The intention of 18 U.S.C. 924(c) was never to apply to those honorably serving our country. I will continue to put forward this legislation and ask fellow Members to join me in fixing this unintended error.”

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ICYMI: Burgess joined America’s News Headquarters
Posted by on February 24, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), joined Mike Emanuel on Fox News’ America’s News Headquarters on Sunday to provide an update on how Texas was emerging from the extreme weather that left millions without power and the upcoming debate on the next COVID-19 spending package through budget reconciliation.

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Highlights from the interview: 

Does Texas need to do a better job in winterizing the energy infrastructure properly: “It’s one of the causes, to be sure.… But how in the world, if you’re pumping natural gas, how do you not have energy available to heat your facility? So those are some of the things that are going to have to be asked, to have to be answered. A lot of people want to talk about changing the grid structure. Look [to] be perfectly honest, it would not have made a big difference. The important thing is we’ve got to be able to harden those facilities so that they can indeed deal with cold winters. We have cold winters in Texas. Not many, but we do about every 8 to 10 years we’ll have something like this and every hundred years we’ll have something on the scale that affects the entire state.”

Why do we find non-COVID-19 items in a COVID-19 spending bill: “Unfortunately, that’s one of the hazards of having a bill this big…. Here’s another thing that people are not really focusing on - the Democrats in their rules package this year gave themselves a pass until April 1. They don’t have to go through regular standard order for anything. So, the pressure’s really on to pass a big bill like this before anyone can actually scrutinize it at the committee level and really that’s wrong. We should not do things that way…”

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Kinzinger, Burgess, Crenshaw Lead Letter to POTUS Calling for Comprehensive Energy Strategy
Posted by on February 23, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Michael Burgess (R-TX), and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) led a joint letter to President Biden regarding America’s national energy and environmental strategy, calling for his support of baseload energy. The arctic air mass ripping across the country has left thousands without power or water, enduring below-freezing temperatures for days on end. The letter calls for an honest conversation about the future of energy in America and how to ensure a policy that can best help avoid the suffering and death caused by this recent winter storm and extreme weather events in the future.

In sending this letter, the Congressmen released the following statement:

“The United States is facing one of the most disastrous energy crises in recent history as an arctic mass wreaks havoc across the country. We write today to underscore the strategic importance of maintaining—and in some cases, expanding—access to sufficient baseload energy sources in the United States. We understand the importance of preserving our resources and our national heritage, and have demonstrated our support for renewable energy technologies. But we also recognize that we cannot disregard the reliable and abundant energy sources like nuclear and natural gas. We urge the President to work with us on the future of America’s energy strategy through thoughtful debate and compromise—for the sake of the country and our future.”

The letter was signed by Congressmen Kinzinger, Burgess, Crenshaw and 32 of their House colleagues, as can be found in the attached PDF. The text of the letter that was sent to President Biden can also be found here.

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Protecting Americans against COVID-19 should be a priority
Posted by on February 22, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), the Republican Leader's Designee to the Budget Committee, delivered remarks today in support of hismotion to instruct to the Democrats'American Rescue Plan. His motion would provide COVID-19 health screenings at the border to help decrease the spread of the virus.

Recently, the nation reached 500,000 deaths due to this Coronavirus. Today,President Biden and Vice President Harris announced they will commemorate those deaths with a candle-lighting ceremony. Now more than ever it is critical that we ensure those entering our country will notincrease the spread of thisvirus.

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As Prepared for Delivery:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My motion would strike funding from sections on global health and Medicaid for inmates and reprioritize this funding for testing and personal protective equipment along our southern border.

In March 2020, President Trump implemented Title 42 of the United States Code that instructed Customs and Border Protection to prioritize the health of American citizens and reject the entry of anyone who bypassed health screening measures in an attempt to enter the country illegally. Those who attempt to enter the country in this manner are immediately returned to Mexico.

In addition, the Trump Administration limited the number of illegal entries by implementing Migrant Protection Protocols that allow those seeking refuge or asylum to remain in Mexico throughout their judicial proceedings. These measures successfully slowed the spread of the Coronavirus into the United States from those without proper documentation.

When the Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) crisis began in 2014, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) tasked with their care and placement was severely unprepared. One of my biggest concerns was the transmission into local communities of diseases like tuberculosis and influenza.

Through the work of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and specifically my office, ORR now provides health screenings and vaccinations to all children in their care.

Without this same level of attention to all individuals, I fear an influx of migrants along our southern border will quickly overwhelm Customs and Border Patrol and lead to rapid spread of the Coronavirus. President Biden has already taken action to halt deportations and is considering rescinding Title 42 before this pandemic is under control.

Just last week, President Biden released his U.S. Citizenship Act to overhaul our immigration system and provide a path to citizenship for millions of people in this country without the benefit of citizenship. His plan specifically provides immediate green cards to those currently part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Temporary Protected Status holders, and immigrant farmworkers. For those that follow our laws and apply for a green card, the process typically takes 7-33 months. Under President Biden’s plan, those who do not comply with our laws will be rewarded immediately.

In addition, President Biden’s plan allows all green card holders to apply to become citizens after just three years. Currently, an individual must hold a green card for five years before applying for citizenship. The plan also eliminates the one-year deadline for filing asylum claims, meaning any undocumented person currently present in the United States can now decide to claim asylum, despite potentially already being here illegally for years.

I am pleased that the plan seeks to address the underlying causes of migration from the Northern triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. However, the majority of this bill will only further incentivize without the benefit of citizenship.

By providing expedited paths to green cards and citizenship for those who willingly broke our laws, we are telling others seeking entry into the United States that the rule of law will not be upheld.

This threatens to create a surge of illegal border crossings in the coming months. We are already seeing an uptick in crossings. With the Coronavirus still a threat, we must ensure any and all who reach our borders are not bringing the virus, and other diseases, with them. The Office of Refugee Resettlement has seen nearly 2,000 cases of Coronavirus in the unaccompanied alien children in their care. Luckily, none of these cases have required hospitalization. There have also been over 1,300 cases of Coronavirus on ORR staff.

Any person taken into CBP custody becomes the responsibility of the United States. If any of them require medical care they will be transmitted to local hospitals, placing an additional burden on our already strained health care systems. Americans citizens should not have to wait for care, potentially resulting in increased case severity, because a noncitizen who broke our laws is taking up available resources.

While I strongly disagree with opening our borders to those without proper documentation, if this is to be our new reality, let us at least protect our border patrol and our communities. We must test every single person, legal or illegal, that enters our country or crosses our border.

In addition, these individuals must be provided with at least one set of personal protective equipment, like a mask and gloves. This will not only help limit community spread but will protect the brave men and women on our frontlines.

Closing Statement: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I urge adoption of my motion to protect this country from further exposure to the Coronavirus. The committee print reported by the Energy and Commerce Committee is approximately $60 billion below the instructed level. It included $49 billion for testing, but none for testing along our southern border.

There is no reason we should not be prioritizing the health and safety of our citizens. We have to protect Americans first if we are to emerge stronger on the other side of this pandemic. If the Biden Administration is going to open our borders, then we must ensure all individuals are tested and provided with personal protective equipment. This should be bipartisan and non-negotiable. I yield back.

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