Senators Cassidy, Whitehouse Join Representatives Burgess, DeGette as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Alliance for Health Policy

CONTACT: Kelly Appenzeller
(202) 789-2300,

Washington, D.C. (December 18, 2019) — The Alliance for Health Policy Board of Directors is pleased to announce the election of Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D., (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) as honorary co-chairs from the Senate for the Alliance for Health Policy. They will serve alongside the Alliance’s honorary co-chairs from the House of Representatives, Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). As Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) fulfill their terms in 2019, Cassidy and Whitehouse will begin their leadership in 2020 to help drive the Alliance toward its mission of helping policymakers and the public better understand health policy, the root of the nation’s health care issues, and the trade-offs posed by various proposals for change.

Sen. Cassidy and Sen. Whitehouse have a long history of working across the aisle on landmark legislation related to health care. In 2015, the duo introduced the Transparent Ratings on Usability and Security to Transform Information Technology (TRUST IT) Act of 2015 to improve coordination in the electronic health records system. Earlier this year, Sen. Whitehouse cosponsored Sen. Cassidy’s Stop Surprise Medical Bills Act to end unexpected out-of-network medical bills for patients and their families. Sens. Cassidy and Whitehouse jointly serve on the Senate Finance Committee.

“I am pleased to join Senator Bill Cassidy as an honorary co-chair of the Alliance for Health Policy,” said Senator Whitehouse. “The Alliance has done a great job of fostering bipartisan cooperation on effective ways to tackle the nation’s toughest health policy issues. I look forward to working with them to advance solutions to our serious health care challenges.”

“To lower costs and strengthen patient choice, health care reform must find bipartisan solutions that put patient first. It is an honor to join Senator Whitehouse as co-chair of the Alliance for Health Policy which is driving bipartisan conversations,” shared Senator Cassidy, the senior Senator from Louisiana who has spent more than two decades practicing medicine as a gastroenterologist.

“We are thrilled to strengthen our bipartisan leadership through the addition of these two distinguished Senators who demonstrate that, even in these fractured times, it is possible to view important issues from different perspectives and find areas of consensus on behalf of improving the health of the American people,” said Sarah J. Dash, MPH, the president and chief executive officer of the Alliance for Health Policy. “Their congressional leadership and dedication to tackling our nation’s most pressing health care issues will be instrumental to the continued success of our mission.” Senators Cassidy and Whitehouse have been actively engaged with the Alliance’s programming for members of Congress, and their leadership now as honorary co-Chairs will only help to augment and provide the continued support for the mission of the Alliance to deliver quality, evidence-based programming to Capitol Hill.

“The Board of Directors of the Alliance, representing diverse political views and health policy expertise, is honored to have the leadership and guidance of Senators Cassidy and Whitehouse as we continue our vision of creating a better health care system achieved through balanced exchange of evidence, experience, and multiple perspectives,” stated Reed V. Tuckson, M.D., the board chair of the Alliance for Health Policy. “Whether dealing with longstanding priorities like delivery system reform, or newer challenges like data privacy, their bipartisan leadership will be critical to advancing better care for all Americans. Through their support, we will continue to deliver objective information to an influential audience of policymakers and health leaders, fostering dialogue and relationships that cross ideological and industry lines.”

Since its founding over 25 years ago, the Alliance, as a leading Washington resource for nonpartisan health policy dialogue and education, has had a longstanding tradition of working with honorary bipartisan leadership to ensure that all sides of the health policy debate are represented. Along with Senators Cardin and Blunt, past honorary co-chairs have included former Senators John D. Rockefeller IV, Jack Danforth, former Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Senator Susan Collins.

The Alliance expresses its appreciation to Sen. Roy Blunt and Sen. Ben Cardin as they fulfill their terms as honorary co-chairs. Their leadership has been essential in helping the Alliance effectively serve members of Congress and their staff as an unbiased, nonpartisan resource to inform health policy solutions.

Read below for more information on the Alliance’s honorary co-chairs:

Senator William Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA)

Dr. Bill Cassidy is the United States Senator for Louisiana. Bill grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and attended Louisiana State University (LSU) for undergraduate and medical school. In 1990, Bill joined LSU Medical School teaching medical students and residents at Earl K. Long Hospital, a hospital for the uninsured. During this time, he co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, a clinic providing free dental and health care to the working uninsured. Bill also created a private-public partnership to vaccinate 36,000 greater Baton Rouge area children against Hepatitis B at no cost to the schools or parents. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bill led a group of health care volunteers to convert an abandoned K-Mart building into an emergency health care facility, providing basic health care to hurricane evacuees. In 2006, Bill was elected to the Louisiana State Senate. In 2008, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives to represent Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District. In 2014, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He serves on the Finance Committee, the Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Veterans Affairs committees. Bill is married to Dr. Laura Cassidy and they have three children. Laura is a retired general surgeon specializing in breast cancer. She helped found a public charter school to teach children with dyslexia. Bill, Laura and their family attend church at the Chapel on the Campus.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

In the United States Senate, Sheldon Whitehouse has earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for progressive values and a thoughtful legislator capable of reaching across the aisle to achieve bipartisan solutions.  The Providence Journal described Sheldon as “a strong-willed and articulate member of the Senate on national issues and an energetic champion of Rhode Island economic and other interests.” Senator Whitehouse’s work in the Senate has focused on defense of Social Security and Medicare, delivery system reform in our health care system, confronting threats in cyberspace, the health of our oceans and coasts, campaign finance reform, and improved American infrastructure. Whitehouse has been at the center of bipartisan efforts to reform the criminal justice system, overhaul federal education law, and strengthen our nation’s cyber-security protection.  In 2016, his comprehensive legislation to address the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic was signed into law.  A member of the Senate Budget Committee since 2007, he has also worked closely with Republican members of the Committee to improve the Senate budget process. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Sheldon served in senior roles in state government before his appointment by President Clinton as Rhode Island’s United States Attorney in 1994.  Sheldon was elected Attorney General of Rhode Island in 1998, and in 2006 to the Senate, where he serves on the Finance Committee; the Judiciary Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee; and the Budget Committee. He and his wife Sandra, a marine biologist and environmental advocate, live in Newport.  They have two grown children.

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 the Republican Leader 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 116th 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.

Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO-1)

Congresswoman Diana DeGette is serving her 12th term in Congress as Representative for the First District of Colorado. DeGette currently serves as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which oversees our nation’s health care, trade, business, technology, food safety, and consumer protection. Among her Congressional colleagues, DeGette is seen as a leading expert on cutting-edge scientific research and one of the leading voices in the nation’s health care debate. As lead whip, DeGette played a vital role in the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, has fought tirelessly for tough food safety legislation, and was a key player in crafting a comprehensive consumer product safety bill. In 2005, DeGette authored legislation to expand stem-cell research, which Congress approved with strong bipartisan support. She is also the author of the landmark 21st Century Cures Act, which has worked to modernize the nation’s medical research system and has been widely hailed as one of the most important pieces of legislation that Congress has passed in recent years. DeGette recently announced that she has started working on the second iteration of that landmark legislation to expand on its success even further.

About the Alliance for Health Policy:

The Alliance for Health Policy is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping policymakers and the public better understand health policy, the root of the nation’s health care issues, and the trade-offs posed by various proposals for change. We believe a better health care system begins with a balanced exchange of evidence, experience, and multiple perspectives. Regardless of their point of view, our audience recognizes the Alliance’s reputation as a well-respected source for unbiased health policy information.

Learn more about the Alliance at

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