Unlike his Republican counterpart in South Carolina, Gov. Jim Douglas is always easy to find. And it's already been a busy week for the state-trotting chief executive.
Tomorrow he meets, once again, with Pres. Barack Obama. This time he won't be alone, however, as he joins five other governors to talk about health-care reform.
“I look forward to our meeting," said Douglas in a statement. "It will give us the chance to speak directly with the President about the good things we are doing in our states and how we can work together to craft a health-care-reform program that achieves our goals.”
Douglas met with Obama earlier this year, one-on-one in the Oval Office, as the president drummed up bipartisan support for his economic stimulus package. Now, the president is hoping to forge similar alliances around health-care reform.
“Vermont is a leader among states when it comes to important reforms to our health-care system. Many of our programs serve as a national model and are being implemented in other states and municipalities across America,” added Douglas.
Earlier this year, Gov. Douglas and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick cohosted one of five regional White House Forums on Health Reform. The New England forum was held at the University of Vermont’s Davis Center. Pres. Obama will meet with five of the governors who hosted these regional forums.
In addition, Douglas and a group of governors will meet with U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Lawrence Summers, directorof the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy; Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public liaison; andNancy-Ann DeParle, counselor to the president and director of the WhiteHouse Office of Health Reform.
On Monday, Douglas was in Washington, D.C., as Surescripts doled out awards to health care leaders from around the country. Vermont was deemed the most improved state, jumping in rank from 31st to 14th.
Douglas joined Tennessee Gov. PhilBredesen, his cochair of the State Alliance for E-Health andcohost of the Fourth Annual Safe-Rx Awards.
The State Alliance wascreated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practicesin January 2007 to improve the nation's health-care system, according to the governor's office. The group formed a collaborative body that "enables states to increase the efficiency andeffectiveness of the health information technology initiatives theydevelop."
Douglas will take over as chairman of the National Governors Association come July.
He was back in Vermont today to celebrate the reopening of the Richmond bridge to traffic. Hey, why stay in D.C. when you can cut a ribbon in Vermont, right?
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