Local medical, community leaders join the health care reform discussion during Burgess' visit to JC


U.S. Rep. Mike Burgess
(far right) gives his thoughts about health
care reform, along with (far left)
MSHA President & CEO Alan Levine
and U.S. Rep. Phil Roe.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Nearly everybody agrees health care needs reforming, but how to do it is one of the most heated issues in the country.

On Monday night, members of the local medical community as well as other community leaders came together at Mountain States Health Alliance’s Washington County Quarterly Medical Staff Meeting to talk about health care reform, with U.S. Rep. Mike Burgess (R-Texas) as the featured speaker.

Burgess, one of the leaders in Congress in the debate about health care reform, made a presentation at The Millennium Centre entitled “Healthcare: What You Need to Know.” He spoke to an audience of local physicians, health care leaders and community leaders. Afterward, he and U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) did a question-and-answer session with the audience.

Burgess is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Health Care Caucus, and Vice Chairman of both the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and Sub-committee on Oversight and Investigations. He and Roe are among 17 medical doctors serving in the United States Congress.

Mountain States President & CEO Alan Levine said the event was a great chance to push forward the discussion on health care reform, and to have some input into the national debate.

“We feel it’s important to provide our leaders and our physicians an opportunity to learn about what’s going on in the national conversation about health care reform and to give them an opportunity to ask questions and be heard by the folks who are making decisions in Washington,” Levine said.

"Both of these congressmen spent time meeting privately with me today, hearing from the hospital perspective. I think the great thing is Congressman Burgess and Congressman Roe sat and listened to how these issues are affecting us. They can't go back and advocate for us in Washington unless they hear from us."

Burgess, an obstetrician/gynecologist, was critical of the Affordable Care Act but praised the country's doctors, and spoke highly of the new generation of technology and tools that future physicians will have at their disposal to treat their patients.

He and Roe also emphasized the need for federal lawmakers to hear from physicians and the medical community as they proceed with health care reform.

"Your meeting here tonight is important," Burgess told the audience, particularly the doctors. "It's important to hear from you about your experiences, whether they're good or bad. Think of this as a two-way process; your participation is actively sought. As you have these quarterly medical staff meetings in the future, I would encourage you to continue this kind of discussion because it is critically important to you and to your patients.

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