Burgum shares health care reform ideas with HHS Secretary Price

Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 9:30pm

BISMARCK, N.D.  – Gov. Doug Burgum today shared his ideas about how health care reform can improve patient care and reduce costs during a phone call with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.

Price, a physician and former U.S. congressman from Georgia, sought the governor’s input as the Trump administration continues to work on a health care package to replace, repair and reform the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.

“Through continued conversations with Cabinet-level officials and Congress, we’re seeking the flexibility North Dakota needs to take the lead in piloting new approaches, reducing bureaucracy and overregulation and allowing us to deliver individualized, patient-centered health care in a cost-effective manner,” Burgum said.

The governor suggested several areas ripe for reform, including health care information technology (IT), which he said has seen hundreds of billions of dollars in federally mandated spending without a corresponding increase in provider productivity. The subsidies, mandates and penalties associated with health care IT have been “an abject failure,” Burgum told the secretary.

“Anything that can be done from an executive action standpoint to bring back competitive forces in health care IT is something that’s going to help us solve the problem” of delivering better care at lower costs, he said.

Other suggestions touched on the rural nature of health care in North Dakota, such as allowing Medicaid payments to behavioral health facilities with more than 16 beds and encouraging greater use of technology to help keep people living safe and comfortably in home-care settings.

Price said those issues are on the administration’s radar, and he encouraged the governor to continue to push the envelope and take an active role.

Joining Burgum on the call were the governor’s Chief Operating Officer Jodi Uecker, North Dakota Department of Human Services Executive Director Chris Jones and the department’s Medicaid services director, Maggie Anderson.