Michael Burgess

Simple Tasks recognizes congressional campaigns like Michael Burgess for their dedication to helping millions of patients in the U.S.

U.S. Representative Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) understands not only the inner workings of Congress; he also understands medicine. And, this understanding of medicine — coupled with Dr. Burgess’ dedication to helping his constituents with rheumatic diseases — makes him one of rheumatology’s Congressional champions.

As a former obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Burgess — who represents the 26th district of Texas and practiced medicine for nearly three decades — knows the importance of accessible and affordable health care. He is committed to helping patients and supports legislation that reduces costs and improves medical options.

In Congress, Burgess has called for repealing the sustainable growth rate, the flawed formula that is used to calculate physician reimbursements for treating Medicare patients.

“Representative Burgess recognizes the current SGR formula is a serious barrier to access for millions of rheumatology patients,” says Tim Laing, MD; ACR government affairs chair and rheumatology faculty at the University of Michigan. “Rheumatologists provide essential care that can stop debilitating rheumatic disease symptoms and improve health outcomes and quality of life. Unfortunately, the SGR formula compromises rheumatologists’ ability to afford to treat Medicare patients which could lead to major threats to patients’ access to care. The ACR is truly fortunate that Representative Burgess understands the impact that the current SGR formula has on rheumatologists and patients.”

Dr. Burgess also supported the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act of 2010 – a measure that encouraged additional arthritis research funding, new programs for early diagnosis and prevention of rheumatic diseases and fellowship opportunities for pediatric rheumatologists.

“The American College of Rheumatology appreciates Rep. Burgess’ continued support and enthusiasm for the rheumatology community,” says Dr Laing. “While the Arthritis Act was not pushed through Congress, it is clear that Rep. Burgess’ remains dedicated to the rheumatology community and to improving the health care system as a whole.”

Dr. Burgess chairs the Congressional Health Care Caucus and helps educate lawmakers and staff on the issues surrounding health care. He has also met with advocates for the rheumatology community during Advocates for Arthritis, the American College of Rheumatology’s annual fly-in that brings rheumatology professionals and patients to Washington D.C. to meet with decision makers in Congress.

Last year, Dr. Burgess introduced 20 bills dealing with legislative issues that included health care, taxes, energy, the economy, and veterans. To recognize his efforts of advancing rheumatology issues, the American College of Rheumatology honored the congressman with the 2011 American College of Rheumatology Award for Public Leadership in Rheumatology.

Burgess remains committed to reforming health care and serves on several committees that will impact the future of rheumatology, including the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which he serves as Vice Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health. The Patients’ Access to Treatments Act (H.R.1600) – a bill that would make access to medically-necessary treatments more available to patients with chronic, disabling or life-threatening conditions – has been referred to this committee on which Dr. Burgess plays an important role. To learn more about Dr. Burgess, visit his website.

The Simple Tasks campaign thanks Congressman Burgess for his continued support of rheumatology-related legislation.