Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 05:00pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum participated in a health care reform meeting Wednesday with Congressman Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Congressman Mike Burgess, R-Texas, who will be one of the chief architects as Congress works to repeal and replace the deeply flawed Affordable Care Act.

Burgum thanked Burgess for the opportunity to provide input, noting the 33-member Republican Governors Association has had weekly calls since early January to discuss health care reform options as Congress and the Trump administration develop plans to replace Obamacare.

“With this leadership, it’s a new era,” Gov. Burgum told Burgess. “There’s a chance for us to be heard and a chance for us to create a platform at the state level where we can innovate and do a better, more cost-effective job of taking care of our people.”

Burgess, the most senior medical doctor in Congress, is chairman of the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of two House committees with primary jurisdiction to develop health care reform legislation. He was invited by Cramer to participate in Wednesday’s roundtable discussion at Bismarck State College, which drew about 40 representatives from the health, human services, insurance and long-term care sectors.

Gov. Burgum stressed that any replacement to the Affordable Care Act must improve health care provider productivity by reducing regulations and allowing flexibility to move dollars upstream, funding more critical services such as addiction treatment to reduce incarceration costs.

Burgess said House Republicans are working with the Trump administration to deliver solutions through regulatory relief, repealing and replacing significant portions of Obamacare through reconciliation and passing additional legislation to strengthen insurance markets by empowering patients, families and states. Providing flexibility and regulatory relief to states is critical, he said.

“Governor Burgum can do so much more if we will allow him to do it,” Burgess said.