FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kelly Appenzeller
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 25, 2018) — The Alliance for Health Policy Board of Directors announces the election of Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D., (R-TX) and Chief Deputy Whip Diana DeGette (D-CO) as the first-ever honorary co-chairs from the House of Representatives for the Alliance for Health Policy. They will serve alongside the reelected honorary co-chairs, Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).
“We are honored to build on our bipartisan leadership with the addition of two honorary co-chairs who have a history of reaching across the aisle to envision a better health system,” Sarah J. Dash, president and chief executive officer of the Alliance, said on behalf of the board. “Their leadership in Congress and their passion for addressing the nation’s top issues involving health inspires our board, and we look forward to their thoughts and guidance.”
Since the Alliance’s founding over 25 years ago, honorary co-chairs have included former Senators John D. Rockefeller IV, Jack Danforth, former Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senator Susan Collins. The Alliance, as a leading Washington resource for nonpartisan health policy and education, seeks guidance and leadership from their honorary co-chairs as a way to ensure that all sides of the health policy debate are represented.
“As a physician, I understand how critical it is to put the needs of patients first,” stated Chairman Burgess, who spent nearly three decades practicing medicine. “I look forward to serving as an honorary co-chair with Representative DeGette and Senators Cardin and Blunt, and to be part of a bipartisan commitment to enhance our public’s knowledge of health policy with the ultimate goal of improving health care for all Americans.”
“I am proud to join my colleague Congressman Burgess, as well as Senators Cardin and Blunt, as an honorary co-chair of the Alliance for Health Policy. The effort of the Alliance to engage multiple perspectives across political viewpoints is more important than ever for forging a path toward a stronger health care system,” said DeGette. “As elected officials, we must take these important steps to encourage a collaborative, bipartisan environment that facilitates discussion and solutions for our nation’s most pressing health care issues.”
Rep. Burgess and Rep. DeGette have worked across the aisle on milestone legislation. In 2017, Chairman Burgess and Representative DeGette, along with Representatives Debbie Dingell, Gene Green, Brett Guthrie, and Bob Latta, introduced the Over-the-Counter Monograph Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act of 2017 to improve the process for regulating over-the-counter medicines. The two elected honorary co-chairs also pushed for increased funding for medical research at the National Institute of Health (NIH) through the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan bill co-authored by DeGette that became law in December 2016, and worked on the Preventive Health Savings Act of 2017, which aimed to modernize the way the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analyzes scientific medical data to provide information on the savings of preventive health initiatives.
Senator Cardin said, “Senator Blunt and I have been proud to work together for the past four years as honorary co-chairs of the Alliance and are pleased to grow this leadership with Chairman Burgess and Representative DeGette. Senator Blunt added, “I am pleased to welcome Chairman Burgess and Representative DeGette to the Alliance. They have both been significant voices in the discussions on health care.”
Read below for more information on the Alliance’s Honorary co-Chairs below:
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Building on a background as a public servant, university president, and teacher, Roy Blunt was elected to the United States Senate in 2010. Senator Blunt serves on the Appropriations Committee; the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; the Select Committee on Intelligence; and the Senate Rules Committee. He is the Chairman of the Rules Committee and Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. He is also the Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation. The people of Southwest Missouri overwhelmingly elected Senator Blunt seven times to the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Blunt was elected the Majority Whip earlier in his career than any Member of Congress in eight decades and was elected to the Senate leadership in his first year in the Senate. Before serving in Congress, he was a history teacher, a county official, and in 1984 became the first Republican elected as Missouri’s Secretary of State in more than 50 years. Senator Blunt also served four years as the president of Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.
Representative Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX-26)
Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. has represented the 26th Congressional District since 2003, and serves as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. He also sits on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, as well as the House Rules Committee. As of the 115th Congress, Rep. Burgess is the most senior medical doctor serving in the U.S. Congress. During his time in Congress, he has advocated to reduce health care costs, improve choices, reform liability laws, and support medical education. Rep. Burgess received his M.D. from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, a master’s degree in Medical Management from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center.
Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD)
A third-generation Marylander, Ben Cardin has been a national leader on health care, retirement security, the environment and fiscal issues while representing the people of Maryland in the U.S. Senate, and before that in the House of Representatives. He has worked across party lines to further U.S. national security and to ensure that good governance, transparency and respect for human rights are integrated into American foreign policy efforts. First elected to the Senate in 2006, Senator Cardin currently serves as Ranking Member of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. He is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Environment & Public Works committees. He also serves on the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Cardin believes access to quality, affordable health care should be a right and not a privilege. From 1987-2006, Ben Cardin represented Maryland’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives and served for 17 years on the Ways & Means Committee. He was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967-1986. During his time as Speaker from 1979-1986, he reformed Maryland’s property tax system, the school financing formula and the ethical standards for elected officials. A 1967 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law (1st in his class), he earned his B.A. degree in 1964 from the University of Pittsburgh (cum laude). He is a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors, the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies’ National Advisory Board and the St. Mary’s College Advisory Board, Center for Study of Democracy.
Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO-1)
Chief Deputy Whip Diana DeGette is serving her 11th term in Congress as Representative for the First District of Colorado. As a member of the powerful Committee on Energy and Commerce, an exclusive congressional committee with vast jurisdiction over health care, trade, business, technology, food safety, and consumer protection, she is one of the leading voices in the health care debate in this country. She also serves as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which conducts the oversight of, and investigations into, issues falling under the jurisdiction of the full committee. As a member of the Democratic leadership, she played a vital role in the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, has fought for tough food safety legislation, and was a key player in crafting a comprehensive consumer product safety bill.