U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess spent his early career as a doctor in Denton County, and now his medical background will play a bigger role on Capitol Hill.
On Friday, Burgess, who was an OB/GYN before coming to Washington and, who at 66, is the longest-serving doctor in the 115th Congress, was named chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.
“Being chosen as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health is a career honor,” Burgess said in a statement. “Nearly 14 years ago, I left the medical practice that I spent my life building in North Texas to join Congress. I believed something needed to be done to address the burden of the federal government in health care—a burden that I have experienced firsthand as both a doctor and a patient.”
The subcommittee handles a variety of healthcare issues ranging from public health, hospital construction, private and public health insurance and the regulation of food and drugs.
Burgess could play big role in drafting an alternative to the Affordable Care Act or ACA if Republicans are successful in repealing Barack Obama’s massive legislation during the 115th Congress.
“Americans have been crushed under the weight of the ACA by its paralyzing costs, limited choices, and deafening inflexibility,” Burgess said. “We can do better. And more importantly, we will do better. Under the leadership of Chairman Walden and Speaker Ryan and in partnership with the Trump Administration, we will move forward to deliver on the promise of reforming our health care system to make it more affordable, accessible and patient-centered.”
Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Ennis, the longest-serving Texan in Congress, was also named vice chair of the full Energy and Commerce committee on Friday. Barton, who led the committee from 2004 to 2007, lost his bid for the chair of the full committee in December.