Healthcare Business News
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney formed a coalition of clinician supporters in Congress.

Romney rallies clinician supporters in Congress

By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: October 11, 2012 - 12:30 pm ET

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has chosen more than a dozen clinicians in Congress to serve as honorary national co-chairs of a new coalition called Healthcare Professionals for Romney.

"Barack Obama put in place a massive governmental takeover of this vital sector of our economy," Romney said in a news release. "I am committed to repealing Obamacare and replacing this costly bureaucratic misadventure with a sensible reform that returns decision-making to states and localities, patients and doctors. I am proud that so many distinguished physicians and members of the healthcare community, including my son Ben, have joined with me in a common cause for a better America."

The group of honorary co-chairs includes physician Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.); physician Reps. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.); and nurse Reps. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Anne Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) and Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.).

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Burgess, who serves as chairman of the Congressional Health Care Caucus and vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, has been a vocal opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. At the Democratic National Convention this past summer, the Texas Republican cited the healthcare reform law as a place to look for savings when lawmakers address the nation's federal debt in the coming months.

"If you have to do some additional sequestration in order to get the dollars to increase the debt limit yet one more time, where are you going to go?” Burgess said in August during a panel discussion. "My thesis would be that has to be the Affordable Care Act."

A spokeswoman for Burgess said his responsibilities on the new coalition will include advising the former Massachusetts governor, speaking at various events and promoting Romney's healthcare policy positions.

"America needs a knowledgeable leader like Gov. Romney," Burgess said in an e-mail Thursday. "I am eager to work with him as he continues his journey to the White House by assisting and advising his campaign on healthcare issues."

In July, Burgess introduced legislation in the lower chamber that would provide a one-year extension of physician Medicare payment rates. The bill has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, which both have jurisdiction over Medicare's sustainable growth-rate formula.

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