Burgum meets with President Trump on health care, gives update on protests

Monday, February 27, 2017 - 5:30pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum on Monday participated in a meeting with President Donald Trump and other governors from across the nation to discuss how to improve the U.S. health care system and redefine the federal government’s relationship with the states.

Burgum and fellow members of the National Governors Association attending their winter meeting in Washington, D.C., were invited to the White House for the discussion and remarks from the president.

President Trump spoke about his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying it would provide states with the flexibility they need to create a better health care system. The president is expected to discuss his plan further during his speech Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress.

Afterward, Burgum was among about a dozen governors who took part in a small group meeting with congressional leaders working on health care reform, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Congressman Mike Burgess, R-Texas, who visited Bismarck last week; Congressman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Congressman Greg Walden, R-Oregon, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“It was refreshing to hear both President Trump and leaders in Congress voice their support for empowering states to innovate solutions,” Burgum said. “The end goal for North Dakota is not just to fix a broken federal health insurance system, it’s to make sure we can deliver personalized, patient-centered health care in a cost-effective manner.”

Burgum also gave President Trump a brief update Sunday night on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The governor informed the president that authorities have cleared and restored the rule of law on federal land in southern Morton County once occupied by as many as 10,000 protesters. The president commended the work done by North Dakota’s law enforcement and emergency services personnel.

Burgum and North Dakota’s congressional delegation will continue to press federal officials for reimbursement of costs associated with the protests. The state has incurred $33.7 million in protest-related expenses, with cleanup costs still mounting, while Morton County’s costs have exceeded $3.8 million.

During the four-day NGA meeting, Burgum participated with other governors and Cabinet officials in multiple meetings and small group discussions on topics including health care, cybersecurity and infrastructure.